ROCKLAND, Del. -- Tammie Green stood over a five-foot putt on the 18th green, and, as she said later, started thinking about her score.
Not surprising, since the putt was for a tournament and caree record 64 in the first round of the $750,000 McDonald's Championship at Du Pont Country Club yesterday.
"I stood over it, saw the line and struck it," said Green, 31 chasing a second LPGA tour victory to go with her du Maurier triumph of 1989.
The 30-34 bettered the course record of 65 set by Betsy Kin two years ago, and Green's best of 66, achieved three times, including twice earlier this season.
The 7-under-par tour of a soggy track that played much longe than its listed 6,389 yards produced a three-stroke cushion on four players with varying credentials.
Beth Daniel, backed by 26 tour wins, including one this year shot 32-35. Mary Beth Zimmerman, with three tour wins, none since 1987, and 10 missed cuts in 14 starts this season, had 34-33.
And Sally Little, a Baltimore favorite duringthe LPGA years a Pine Ridge Golf Course, a non-winner since 1988 and up-and-down this season with a best finish of tied for 15th, posted a 34-33.
From a starting field of 144, 41 shot subpar totals and 1 equaled par. Although the course is drying out from four inches of rain Tuesday, the greens still are soft enough that players can throw the ball at the flagstick.
That helped Green blitz the field. She birdied the first four hole with no putt longer than 12 feet, got up and down twice, then birdied the ninth from 18 feet to turn in a 5-under-par 30.
Two more birdies on the back, putts of two feet and 30 feet, go her home in a bogey-free round.
The round included just 26 putts, 11 of them on the front.
"Twenty-six putts?" she said. "I'm surprised to hear that. You still need to be careful, though. And there's a long way to go."
Green, remembered for challenging through the middle tw rounds of the 1988 U.S. Women's Open at Baltimore CC, said she had been fooling around with her putting stroke.
"I hadn't been putting that well in the past. Lately, I've bee holding my hands lower. It felt right, and it seemed to make a difference."
Of the next four, Daniel had four birdies; Richard, a bogey on th front and five birdies on the back; and Zimmerman and Little, six birdies, two bogeys.
All four are coming in after having taken off two of the past three weeks.
Zimmerman did nothing at home in Charlotte, N.C., for one week then spent several days with her teacher, Peter Kostis, in Florida. "We worked on fundamentals and he got me re-focused," she said. "I was thinking, not playing, on the front, then got it going on the back."
Zimmerman three-putted her first two holes, then bounced bac with a 15-foot birdie putt at No. 3. "I got a little mad at myself after those 3-putts, but that got me going."
Daniel, cool, confident and perhaps most likely to succeed out o the current group on the leader board, sees another possible 64 out there, but if the course dries out, and the greens get quicker, it will become a finesse game.
Last year's LPGA player of the year also had some words o advice for Green.
"After shooting 7 under, it is hard to come back with the sam level of intensity," Daniel said. "She played in the morning, so she has the rest of today and tomorrow morning to think about it.
"In this situation, you try and handle it the best you can an come out and gear up for another round."
NOTES: Baltimorean Tina Barrett, had one three-putt in a back-nine 37, then two missed short putts spoiled what was a solid ball-striking round for a total of 3-over 74. . . . defending champion Patty Sheehan had 72, and Pat Bradley, the tour's leading money-winner this season, 69. . . . The top 5 were followed by 4 at 68, including former U.S. Women's Open champions Kathy Baker Guadagnino and Laura Davies. . . . Val Skinner had the day's only eagle, a 50-yard sand wedge shot at the 498-yard ninth hole. . . . Only 5 of the holes played under par. . . . Although the deal has not been signed officially, it is certain that McDonald's and the Du Pont CC will sign a new five-year contract to continue holding the tournament.
Par out: 444. .... . 434. . .. . 435-35
Green out:. 333. ...... 334. . .. ..434-30
Zimmerman out:. . 553. . .... 423. .... . 435-34
Daniel out:. ..... 334. ...... 434. ... . .335-32
Richard out:. .... 544. ... . .434. . . .. 435-36
Little out:. .. .. 454. .. ... 523. ... .. 434-34
Par in:. ........ 454. ...... 344. ...... 534-3671
Green in:. ....... 354. ...... 244. . . . 534-34-64
Zimmerman in:. ... 443. ... .. 344. ...... 434-33-67
Daniel in:. ...... 454. ..... 244. .......534-35-67
Richard in:. ..... 354. ...... 234. .......523-31-67
Little in:. ...... 453. ... ...334........ 524-33-67