Sorenstam was tied for third with 1986 Corning winner Laurie Rinker, Catherine Cartwright, Jamie Hullett, and Mee Lee and South Korea’s Jimin Kang.

Two weeks after dominating the Chick-fil-A Charity Championship, in which she played the first 39 holes of the tournament without a bogey, things changed quickly for Sorenstam. She started with a bogey at No. 10, then had another at the 13th to fall behind her playing partners, two-time Corning winner Rosie Jones and Christina Kim.

Sorenstam then got going, starting with an impressive eagle at the 510-yard, par-5 No. 14. She hit a 4-wood to within 7 feet of the pin to become the first player in the tournament’s 27-year history to make the elevated green on the second shot. She then calmly make the short, twisting putt to go back to even par.

Sorenstam drove to 5 feet and made her birdie putt at No. 15, and followed with two more birdies to move into contention.

At the par-5 second, Sorenstam scored her fifth eagle of the year to move to the top of the leaderboard at 5 under. But she faltered with bogeys at Nos. 5 and 7, the result of the gusting conditions, which often made a picture-perfect, sunny day treacherous for those who played in the morning group.

Sorenstam, who had four three-putt holes, finished her round with three straight pars, and they came when the wind seemed its stiffest.

“On my last hole I thought I was totally downwind, and by the time I’m going to hit it’s into the wind, and by the time I get to the green it’s left to right,” she said, shaking her head. “I could have used three different clubs. You had to time it pretty well. It makes it difficult.”

Gustafson missed the cut two weeks ago at the Chick-fil-A Charity Championship, which Sorenstam dominated for her 60th career victory, and her only round in the 60s this year came a month ago on the first round of the Takefuji Classic.

On this day, even a tricky wind that often befuddled Sorenstam didn’t seem to have as much of an effect on Gustafson. She tied her fellow Swede with an 8-foot birdie putt at the par-4 13th hole, the most difficult on the short and narrow Corning Country Club course.

Gustafson followed with three straight birdies, capping her impressive string with a 10-foot putt at 17.

“You’ve got to be aggressive here,” said Gustafson, who needed only 24 putts on the round, seven fewer than Sorenstam. “I had a couple of bogeys where I wasn’t really sure where the wind was coming from.”

The wind wasn’t as bad for those who teed off in the afternoon. Barring a total collapse on Friday, Turner, the 1988 Corning champion, was virtually assured of making only her second cut in five tournaments. Her best finish this season is a tie for 51st in last week’s Sybase Classic.

DIVOTS: Tessa Teachman, a 15-year-old from Rochester, N.Y., the youngest player to ever qualify at Corning, shot a 1-over 73 and was in contention to make the cut. … Jan Stephenson and Danielle Amiee withdrew on Thursday. Amiee, who won The Golf Channel’s “Big Break III,” cited a back problem. She didn’t make the cut at her only other start, the Michelob Ultra Open three weeks ago. … Caryn Wilson, the 45-year-old who began golfing at age 31, aced the 125-yard 15th hole with a 9-iron.

AP-ES-05-26-05 1928EDT


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