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OFFICE DEPOT CHAMPIONSHIP NOTEBOOK: HULL AT HOME BY SEA.

Byline: Dave Shelburne Staff Writer

RANCHO PALOS VERDES - Katherine Hull, the College Player of the Year as a senior at Pepperdine University in Malibu, made the most of her return to seaside golf Friday.

The 23-year-old Australian shot 3-under-par 68 to share 11th place in the opening round of the Office Depot Championship at Trump National Golf Club Los Angeles.

Hull, a two-time All-American, won eight college tournaments while playing for the Waves before joining the LPGA last year. She had a career-best second-place finish in the BMO Financial Group Canadian Women's Open in July but had missed five consecutive cuts coming into this weekend's tournament.

Her opening 68 on the par-71, 6,017-yard Trump National course, where she had four birdies and an eagle - on the par-5, 496-yard 14th hole - was three shots off her LPGA career best and left her three shots off the lead shared by Wendy Ward, Nicole Perrot and Karine Icher.

Hull, who won in her first professional event - the 2003 Futures Tour - finished that year with two Futures wins, then tied for 42nd in the qualifying tournament to earn conditional LPGA status last year. She secured full playing privileges for this year by placing 69th in 2004 season earnings.

Lindsey Wright, Hull's fellow Australian and All-American teammate at Pepperdine, opened with a front- nine 38 Friday but was one of 25 players left on the course when darkness halted play at 6:47 p.m.

Wright, also in her second year on the LPGA Tour after qualifying by placing second in Futures Tour earnings in 2004, has made the cut in 12 of 19 LPGA starts this season.

The 2001 NCAA runner-up and 2002 U.S. Women's Amateur semifinalist has finished in the top 20 twice this season, including a career-best tie for 16th behind runner-up Hull at the BMO Financial Group Canadian Women's Open.

--Northridge entry: LPGA Tour rookie Beth Allen, the 2004 Big West Conference champion and an honorable-mention All-American at Cal State Northridge, shot 76 in her opening round of the Office Depot Championship.

A quarterfinalist in the 2004 U.S. Women's Amateur and a semifinalist in the 2003 U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links, Allen placed 22nd in the NCAA championship as a senior with the Matadors. She earned her LPGA Tour card by tying for 25th in the tour qualifying tournament and winning a seven-way, three-hole playoff for the final full-exemption berth.

The daughter of PGA Class-A professional Jim Allen, the ex-Matadors star has missed 16 of 19 cuts this year but finished in the money in two of her past three events, posting a career-best tie for 42nd at the State Farm Classic in September.

--USC foursome: Four former USC players are in the Office Depot Championship field, including tour winners Kim Saiki, Candie Kung and Jennifer Rosales. Rosales, who won the 1998 NCAA championship as a freshman, has been a top-10 finisher in four LPGA majors and had a hot hand again Friday.

Rosales led the Trojans' Trump National contingent and nearly everyone else with a 66 to tie for fifth overall with Gloria Park and Natalie Gulbis, a stroke off the lead.

Saiki shot 69, Kung shot 70 and Jill McGill - second in this year's Michelob Ultra Open at Kingsmill, shot 75.

--Klein watch: Emilee Klein, the former Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks golf standout and three-time LPGA Tour winner who won the Weetabix Women's British Open in 1996, shot 74 in her debut at Trump National.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2005
Words:581
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