Rookie Jackson Leads Safeway Classic

Saturday, September 18th 2004, 11:54 am
By: News On 6

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) _ Brandi Jackson likes the fact there's no schoolwork on the LPGA Tour. She also likes rainy Oregon, apparently. The tour rookie held a one-stroke lead in the suspended first round of the Safeway Classic on Friday, opening with a 6-under 66.

Jackson finished her round in periodic showers before severe weather moved in, delaying afternoon play for 1 hour, 28 minutes, then again as darkness fell.

Jennifer Rosales, Janice Moodie and Jenna Daniels opened with 67s and nine players were two strokes back on the Columbia Edgewater Country Club course. Two-time defending champion Annika Sorenstam shot a 70.

``It was a decent first round,'' said Sorenstam, who won last week in Oklahoma after taking a month off.

The 31 players on the course when play was suspended for the day completed their rounds Saturday morning. Among them was Jean Batholomew, who shot a 69.

Cristie Kerr, who won the State Farm Classic this month, withdrew Saturday because of neck pain after a first-round 75.

Jackson, the former Furman star who finished second in the 2002 U.S. Women's Amateur, qualified for the tour on her first try and is slowly settling into life as a rookie.

``The best part about it is you don't have to study,'' she said. ``I still talk to some of the girls on our team and just hearing them having to go to tournaments and study, that's probably the biggest difference.''

Jackson has missed 14 cuts in 18 tournaments this year and has broken par only three times in 41 rounds.

``It's been awhile since I played well, so it's kind of hard,'' she said. ``I'll just kind of go out with the same game plan. I've got some confidence in my putter.''

Rosales was 5 under through 16 holes when the sirens on the course sounded. After the break, which included thunder and lightning, she parred the final two holes.

``My feel was gone,'' she said.

Moodie watched some early morning Ryder Cup coverage on TV before her round. She was specifically interested in the play of fellow Scot Colin Montgomerie, who teamed with Padraig Harrington to beat Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods 2 and 1 in the opening session.

``I was getting a little bit inspired when I saw Monty up there leading the pack against Tiger and Mickelson,'' Moodie said. ``That was fun to watch then go out there and play yourself.''