Edelen claims early lead

Spring Valley Golf Club wasn't the same when Cathy Edelen was in college.

It was known as Spring Lake when it served as home course for the University of Kentucky golf program, which included Edelen.

Over the years, the front and back nines were switched, and changes were made to the greens and bunkers.

So Edelen went out and shot a 3-under par 69 to take the lead in the Fifth Third Bank Women's Kentucky Open on Tuesday.

Edelen will take a two-shot lead over current Women's State Amateur champion Laura Anderson, who had a 71, into Wednesday's final round. Both are former Open champions.

Tied for third at even par are former champions Mandy Goins and Taryn Durham. Joining them are Brittainy Klein and Karisa Akin.

Another change Edelen noticed was that tree limbs had been trimmed throughout the course.

“You can see exactly where you're supposed to hit the ball,” said Edelen, who grew up in Louisville and is a teaching pro in North Port, Fla. “The course is in great shape.”

Edelen, the Open winner in 1999 and 2000, struck the ball rather well in the opening round.

She had three birdies on the front side and played the back in even par with two birdies and two bogeys.

“I hit a lot of good shots and had a little luck,” she said. “I birdied the first hole, and that put me in a good frame of mind.”

Edelen made a 3-foot putt on No. 1, then hit a 7 iron to within 10 feet and made the putt on No. 4. She drained a 25-foot putt for a birdie on No. 5.

She parred No. 10 by chipping in from about 25 feet, “a good save,” she said.

Edelen three-putted for her bogeys on Nos. 12 and 16.

“I pulled off two or three lucky shots but left those three putts out there and missed a good chance coming in (on 18),” she said.

Anderson, the 2006 winner at Kearney Hill, has been enjoying the summer since her Amateur victory at Elizabethtown and before returning for her sophomore year at the University of Louisville.

Anderson struggled on the front nine, including a double bogey on the par-4 seventh hole.

“I made a poor drive and a poor second shot, then chipped too far over the green, ... altogether bad,” she said.

Anderson had some good “up-and-down” holes until she birdied No. 11.

“That helped me start going again with a little energy and a little spark,” she said.

Klein, who is playing on the Futures Tour, was the first golfer to finish even par.

An eagle on the par-5 12th hole was the highlight of her round. A driver and a solid 4-wood left her 4 feet from the hole.

“I've been struggling with my swing,” Klein said, “but everything seemed to fall into place.”

Goins, the 2004 champ who is also on the Futures Tour, had three birdies and three bogeys, “kind of a boring round,” she said. “I didn't do anything too bad.”

Bogeys on Nos. 16 and 17 left her disappointed with the finish.

Durham, the 2005 State Am champ who has turned pro, was 2 over at the turn but birdied Nos. 11 and 12.

Akin said she hit the ball “into some pretty bad places, but my putter saved me. I chipped pretty well, too.”

Akin was 2 under on the front nine and finished with five birdies and five bogeys. She chipped in once.