Scot Janice Moodie was on the fringe of the top 10 on one under par 71 after rough first-round conditions at the inaugural Ginn Open at Reunion Resort in Orlando, Florida.
On a day when the start of play was delayed for an hour due to heavy rain and then gusting winds sent scores soaring, American Cristie Kerr did battle through the weather to an impressive 65.
The 28-year-old birdied the last two holes to lead by two from her Solheim Cup teammate Laura Diaz and Mexico’s Lorena Ochoa, who currently heads the LPGA rankings.
World number one Annika Sorenstam had to settle for a 72, while one of the most impressive rounds was a 74 from 13-year-old American Dakota Dowd.
The Florida schoolgirl was invited to play in the tournament in order that her mother, Kelly Jo, who has terminal cancer, could see her take the first steps towards her dream of playing on the LPGA Tour.
It was an emotional experience for all concerned, but Dakota birdied the opening hole and went on to finish ahead of a whole host of world-class names.
“I didn’t care what I shot, I just loved the experience,” said the talented youngster.
As for Kelly Jo, who underwent a double mastectomy for breast cancer four years ago and is now suffering from bone and liver cancer, she battled through the pain to walk all 18 holes.
“I bawled my eyes out on the first tee,” said a very proud Mum. “But today I felt well again. I’m just so grateful that I’ve had a chance to experience today.”
Moodie, who is five months pregnant, had three birdies and missed short chances for more at the 17th and 18th.
“I’m feeling really well, but just a little more tired than usual,” said the 32-year-old, who will stop playing in June but intends to come back next season.
England’s Laura Davies, who has missed every cut this year, was one under par with four holes to play, but dropped a shot at the 15th and took a five at the short 16th in a 74.
With rounds stretching to well over five hours in the tough conditions, play was suspended due to darkness with 40 players still to complete.