Ladies run close

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:27 AM ET

They didn't settle anything in the first round of the Sun Life Financial Alberta Ladies Amateur Golf Championship yesterday - but they did serve notice that the final three rounds aren't going to be anyone's cakewalk.

LEGITIMATE CHANCE

The pack at the top of the Petroleum Club's leaderboard is big enough that anyone in the top 20 has a legitimate chance to close the gap over the final 54 holes.

Judy Dotten of Ontario leads the field of 70 players after an opening round 71 that featured four birdies and two bogeys (15 and 16).

But the lead is anything but secure. At least not yet.

There's a trio of challengers two strokes back - Nicole Forshner of Banff, Jade Polonich of Edmonton and 17-year-old Juanita Rico of Calgary, all at even par 73.

Three more are just three strokes back at 74, two more are well within striking distance at 75 and eight more are within seven shots.

"Nobody can be too confident this early," said Rico, who isn't making too much of her first round positioning.

"There are still three rounds to go, a lot of golf left."

Still too early to worry about anybody else but yourself.

"I'm not really looking at the scores right now," said Rico.

"I'm just trying to play my game because it's obvious that you're going to need four consistent rounds to win this."

NAM IN THE MIX

Twenty-year-old Susan Nam of Edmonton is still in the mix after an opening round 77. She stumbled out of the blocks with three straight bogeys before playing one-over the last 15 holes.

Dotten tees off at 9:57 this morning, in a group with Meaghan LeBlanc (T5 after an opening round 75) and Charlotte McGinnis (T10, 77) on a Petroleum Club that's playing in mint condition.

"It's not too long or too short, and the conditions are perfect," said Rico. "The greens are really nice."

JUNIORS GONE WILD: Chase Teron of Red Deer opened with a 68 yesterday in Grande Prairie to take the first round lead in the 2007 CN Future Links Western Championship.

His round of seven birdies and four bogeys gives him a one-shot lead over Toronto's Daniel Kim. Fifteen players are within six strokes of the lead.

On the girls side, Kylie Barros's 85 has her in 12th place, 10 shots off the lead.


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