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Sandra Gal leads LPGA's Titleholders event

Sandra Gal, shown in a 2010 file photo, had straight consecutive birdies in her round Thursday and takes a one-stroke lead into the second round of the LPGA's CME Group Titleholders tournaments. UPI/Archie Carpenter | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/1f148a03962b6340e24f1bf943548b4a/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Sandra Gal, shown in a 2010 file photo, had straight consecutive birdies in her round Thursday and takes a one-stroke lead into the second round of the LPGA's CME Group Titleholders tournaments. UPI/Archie Carpenter | License Photo

NAPLES, Fla., Nov. 21 (UPI) -- Sandra Gal strung together six consecutive birdies Thursday in taking the lead after the first round of the LPGA's CME Group Titleholders tournament.

Gal, who only qualified for the event with a sixth-place finished at the Safeway Classic in September, began her tournament with the six-birdie run and finished the first round with an 8-under-par 64.

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She is one stroke ahead of Rebecca Lee-Bentham. Last week's LPGA winner Lexi Thompson is tied for third with Feng Shanshan and Anna Nordqvist at 6-under. Feng holed out a shot for eagle on the final hole of the round to pull within two strokes of Gal.

World No. 1 Inbee Park is among those tied for seventh at 4-under while No. 2-ranked Suzann Pettersen had a first-hole double bogey and wound up even-par for the day.

Lydia Ko, the 16-year-old New Zelander making her professional debut, shot 1-under 71 despite a bogey and a double bogey.

Gal opened on the second nine of the TwinEagles Club in Florida with birdies on the first six holes. After a line of seven consecutive pars, Gal had a bogey but she finished with birdies on three of the final four holes for the 64.

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Bentham three times had back-to-back birdies on the course's second nine Thursday and offset a bogey at the second hole with birdies at 4 and 9 and is one stroke back of Gal.

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