Surprises abound in hot Futures opening round

One has to nearly read down to the second full page of the Duramed Futures Tour money list to find Montreal, Quebec native Lisa Meldrum, lodged in 86th place.

Yet at the end of Friday's opening round of the Alliance Bank Golf Classic, it was Meldrum ahead of the back after a flawless five-under-par 66 over the Links at Erie Village in the tournament's morning session.

Meldrum's early total was built upon a bogey-free round that included birdies at holes 3, 5, 10, 14 and 16 -- all par-4s -- and 13 pars. She also made a 30-foot putt for par on the 9th hole and another key par save at 11 to keep the scorecard clean.

Once posted, Meldrum's score held up for the rest of the day, though three other players -- Jin Young Pak, Mo Martin and Gerina Mendoza -- came close, each of them finishing with four-under-par 67 totals to finish one shot behind Meldrum.

Pak, one of the many South Koreans in the field, had the best chance, going out in 31 with five birdies on the front nine before cooling off with bogeys on 10 and 12 and a recovering birdie at 16. Pak currently sits at eighth on the Futures money list, and a win could propel Pak into the top five, all of which earn an LPGA Tour card at season's end.

Playing in back-to-back groups that started at hole no. 10, Martin (who hails from Altadena, Calif.) and Mendoza (who is from Roswell, N.M.) both had equal totals of 34 on the back nine, then 33 on the front nine. Martin began the week 24th on the Futures money list, while Mendoza is 37th.

The full brunt of heat and humidity arrived with the opening round on Friday -- temperatures pushing 90 degrees, sunshine, and the occasional wind gusts that can make Erie Village a much tougher course.

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