JENNIFER ROSALESLYTHAM ST ANNE'S, England, August 2, 2003 (MALAYA) - Jennifer Rosales of the Philippines fired an eagle-aided 69 on Thursday, two shots behind the leaders after the opening round of the women's British Open.

Rosales, joint fourth in the event last year, eagled the par-5 No. 15 and had two birdies, the only blemish in her round coming in the par-4 10th.

The 24-year-old Rosales was in a group of seven, including world No. 2 Se Ri Pak of South Korea, who birdied three holes in a row from the 14th.

Defending champion Karrie Webb of Australia shared the lead on five-under-par 67 with American Wendy Ward after a first round where the cream rose to the top.

World No. 1 Annika Soren-stam was in third place a shot behind the leaders.

Dorothy Delasin had a 76 and was tied for 96. The top rookie of 2000 had three birdies and three bogeys and suffered a horrendous eight on No. 10.

For Webb, it was another sign that a relatively disappointing season is taking a turn for the better.

The former world No. 1, who is aiming to win this title for a fourth time, finished fifth in the Evian Masters in France last week, and a round of five birdies and an eagle was the perfect start on a rather benign opening day.

"The weather was far better than I expected and really the course couldn't have been playing any easier," she said. "But anything under par is a good score on this course.

"Today I made a lot of putts and I held off the temptation to be too aggressive. On a links course, you sometimes have to hold yourself back."

Webb has had six top 10s this year, but has not won anywhere since she took this title at Turnberry in Scotland in 2002.

American Ward has won three times on the LPGA Tour and played in last year's winning US Solheim Cup side.

But she is the first to admit that her career has yet to fulfil both her own and others' expectations.

"I'm not surprised to be in this position," she said. "I'm just surprised that I've not been here more often."

Sorenstam came into the championship saying the hullabaloo surrounding her trip into the men's game on the PGA Tour in Texas in May was beginning to take its toll and she pulled out of the Canadian Open four weeks ago claiming exhaustion.

But a five birdie round helped re-energize the Swede who needs the title to complete a career Grand Slam of all four majors.

She said: "I'm very, very pleased with the way I played and was amazed how calm and patient I was. I struck the ball really well and putted just about as well as I ever have."

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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