WILMINGTON, Del. -- Oddities seems to follow Wendy Ward in the LPGA Championship.
A year ago, she was in contention for her first major until she had to call a penalty on herself because her ball moved a fraction of an inch as she stood over a par putt in the final round. She finished a stroke out of a playoff.
Ward put that behind her Thursday by making four straight birdies on her way to a 6-under 65 for a 1-stroke lead over Becky Iverson and Akiko Fukushima.
Then Ward handed in her card and listened to a volunteer blurt out the score -- 69. The volunteer presumably counted one hole twice.
"I said, 'That's a pretty good score, but it's not mine,"' Ward said.
Ward had no trouble remembering she had a 65, especially since it was her best start at DuPont Country Club.
The same goes for Karrie Webb.
The three-lined course has always been a mystery for the 26-year-old Aussie, but she figured it out in the first round with a 4-under 67 that left Webb in good shape as she pursues the final leg of the LPGA's Grand Slam.
Webb missed only two fairways, a sign that she is driving the ball as well as she did at Pine Needles three weeks ago to win her second straight U.S. Women's Open.
Her first round got even better when she reached the par-5 16th green in 2 with a 5-iron from 198 yards, then made the 35-foot eagle putt.
"A bonus," she called it.
Webb isn't the only one chasing history.
While she tries to become the youngest woman to complete the Grand Slam, Laura Davies is trying to get into the Hall of Fame. A surprising victory in Rochester two weeks ago put her within two points of qualifying, and she could pick up those by winning a major.
"I've had a great start, which is all you can ask for," Davies said. "But I won't be thinking about the Hall of Fame. I'm trying to win the LPGA Championship first and foremost, and if it happens, then double the celebration."
Annika Sorenstam was back on her game and had a 68, with her only mistake out of her hands. She decided to pound a 6-iron on the 184-yard 13th hole, but a sudden gust of wind blew her ball well past the green, and she took bogey.
"I'm pleased with the way I'm playing," Sorenstam said. "It's nice to see my game coming back around at a major."
Also at 68 was Rachel Teske, who won the Evian Masters in France last week.
It was only fitting that Webb and Davies are in the same group for the first two rounds. Both have history on the line this week, and both of them are trying not to look past the next round.
"Even though if I win this week I get the career Grand Slam, you can't think about the end until it happens," Webb said. "I shot a good round, but I've got three long days to go before I even think about stuff like that."
The last player to win the U.S. Women's Open and the LPGA Championship just three weeks apart was Juli Inkster in 1999, which also gave her a career Grand Slam. Inkster is trying to tie a record, too, as only the second woman to win the same major three years in a row.
She opened with a 71, a decent day at DuPont considering her putting was average.
"I didn't kill myself out there, but I played far better than I scored," Inkster said.
The same could be said for Webb.
She has never felt comfortable at DuPont, admitting that at times she has lost patience on a course that seems like it should yield plenty of birdies.
Webb made birdies on her first five holes and was cruising along until her tee shot on the 192-yard eighth hole hit the front of the green and shot through to the back. She blew her chip some 25 feet past the hole and made bogey.
A hot, sticky day began to get the best of her, and Webb lost her concentration.
"Fortunately, I didn't do any damage," she said.
Davies, free to pull out the driver on a course that suits her game more than any other in America, played with Webb and was impressed with her playing partner's round.
"She can hit it closer than she did," Davies said. "I've played with her quite a few times this year, and she just arrows them at the flag. So, 4 under ... she could have been much better than that."
Davies should know. She watched Webb storm past her on the final holes to win the du Maurier Classic two years ago.
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