TULSA, OKLA. Kelly Robbins needed no introduction to the gusty wind that sent shots soaring into the water and woods in the inaugural Williams Championship on Friday.
All too familiar with Oklahoma's devilish breezes, the former University of Tulsa player shot a 2-under-par 68 to tie Gloria Park for the first-round lead.
"There's nowhere with wind like it is here," Robbins said. "It's gusty all the time. It's funny the first two days here it was pretty calm. I was telling people I couldn't believe it."
Play opened with morning showers at Tulsa Country Club. Then came the wind.
By the afternoon, players were left guessing on every shot as gusts exceeded 30 mph and leaves swirled on the greens. Only four players finished under par, the lowest number in a first round this year on the LPGA Tour.
Australian star Karrie Webb finished with a 74. She triple-bogeyed the 158-yard par-3 sixth hole, landing first in a pond and then in a bunker with her ball plugged in the sand.
"It was really tough out there," she said, "and you paid the penalty in bad shots."
Park, who lives in Australia, where she's used to strong winds, hit the fairways and nailed her approach shots. Her four birdies came on putts of 3, 4, 5 and 6 feet. She was 4 under when No. 6 snagged her.
"When I hit the ball I just hit it, and the wind came up and the ball was in air and got caught and I was not close to green and ended in the water," she said.
Robbins was 3 under before overshooting the 18th green. She chipped short, then sank an 8-foot putt for her second bogey.
Susie Redman and Australia's Rachel Teske were a stroke back at 69 and nine players followed at even par.
Former University of Tulsa player Nancy Lopez, who hadn't played in Tulsa since her college days, struggled after sitting out 11/2 months with an injured shoulder and knee. The Hall of Famer finished with a 12-over 82.
Annika Sorenstam shot a 72.
"It's a difficult enough golf course," she said. "It's narrow without the wind, small greens, and when you've got wind like this it makes everything smaller."
The Swede tops the tour with six victories and earnings of $1,599,302.