Date: November 09, 2007

Doolan slow out of blocks

Australian hope Wendy Doolan has stumbled on the back nine to be well off the pace set by a couple of Americans at the Mitchell Company Tournament of Champions in Alabama. Doolan shot a sluggish 77 to open the tournament, leaving her five-over-par, 10 strokes behind Paula Creamer and US Women&aposs Open Champion Meg Mallon. Creamer birdied the last seven holes for an inward half of 29 in her round of 67. Mallon has had only two top 20s in 13 starts in an injury-wrecked season but showed her class with seven birdies in her five-under-par round. Doolan, who competed in only 11 events last year due to a rib injury, started brightly with a birdie at the first. She followed with a bogey at the second and turned for home even with the card. However, things fell apart on the back nine and a double bogey at the final hole accompanied bogeys at 11, 12 and 15, to leave Doolan tied for a share of 30th place. At the other end of the leaderboard, Norway&aposs Solheim Cup star Suzann Pettersen continued her impressive season with an opening 69. The highlight from the 26-year-old from Oslo was an eagle two at the ninth, where she holed out with a wedge from 91 yards. On a day when play started an hour late due to heavy frost, Mexico&aposs defending champion Lorena Ochoa, who won by 10 shots last year, opened with a disappointing 74.