SYLVANIA, Ohio -- Alison Walshe put herself in prime position at the Marathon Classic for her first LPGA Tour victory. But, as the name of the tournament implies, the race has just begun. Walshe shot a 6-under 65, her best score in her four years on the LPGA Tour, to take a one-stroke lead Thursday in the opening round of the tournament formerly known as the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic. Jessica Shepley of Owen Sound, Ont., is among three players who are tied for second. Teenager Lexi Thompson and Paula Creamer, who won the tournament five years ago, also shot 66. Top-ranked Inbee Park, winner of the years first three major championships, is within two shots. Walshe, among the top 20 on tour in putting stats, three-putted at the first hole for bogey -- then took only 19 putts on the next 17 holes. "I was like, Here we go again," Walshe said. "Then I one-putted the next hole and got my confidence going." She also chipped in for birdie on the 14th hole, her fifth of the day, to jump-start her round. Walshe came into the Marathon, in its first year under its new title sponsor, quietly. She hasnt had a top 10 this year and ranks 55th on the money list with earnings of just over $120,000. She hasnt finished higher than a tie for 17th at Kingsmill. Her career best is a tie for eighth a year ago at the Kraft Nabisco. "Ive been hitting it probably the best Ive hit it in a long time this year," said the 28-year-old University of Arizona grad from Westford, Mass. "Ive been giving myself a lot of opportunities, and its frustrating that I havent been able to really go deep and make some putts." Everybody in the 144-player field was tormented by temperatures in the 90s, high humidity, little wind and a glaring sun. Thompson said after her round that she drank a bottle of water per hole to stay hydrated. Walshe benefited from a morning tee time, but it wasnt as if it was cool then, either. "At 7 in the morning I was sweating and Im sweating now," she said just after completing her round around 1 p.m. Creamer, who opened with a career-low 60 in her 2008 victory at the course, was satisfied to be a shot off the pace. "Im very pleased. I had a lot of shots out there that I could have gone lower with," she said. "But at the same time, it was a good start. I havent been able to start off the way I wanted the last couple of events, so this was nice to post a good number." Shepley, a former University of Tennessee player, has struggled this year but is encouraged. "Ive had a couple of good results. I played a couple smaller events up in Canada," she said. "Ive been working hard on my swing a lot. Im trying to stay patient, so was hoping one of these rounds would come soon." Thompson, who was the youngest winner ever of an LPGA event when she took the 2011 Navistar at the age of 16, was asked if American players had been eclipsed by the South Koreans who have dominated in recent years. "There are a lot of good American golfers out here. There is so much competition," she said. "It doesnt matter where youre from; it matters how well you bring it out on the golf course." No one questions how well Park has played. Shell go for an unprecedented fourth consecutive womens major in the same year when she heads for the Womens British Open late this month. Shes already won six times on the tour this year while ascending to No. 1. Naturally, galleries expect her to win every time out. "I do feel more pressure coming into this tournament," she said after a 67 that left her tied with Haeji Kang, Jacqui Concolino, Gerina Piller and Karine Icher. "But I try to enjoy it. I enjoy the fans coming out to watch." Defending champ So Yeon Ryu had a 68 along with a large group that included Morgan Pressel and Natalie Gulbis. Se Ri Pak, a five-time winner of the tournament, opened with a 69 -- the same as the worlds top-ranked amateur, Lydia Ko. The course is built for low scores. Over the last six years, the winners are a combined 103 under par. "I know there are some very good scores out there," said Ko, who appears a lock to run her streak of professional cuts made to a perfect 22 for 22. "Ive just got to play my game. I cant control what the others do." Rebecca Lee-Bentham of Toronto is in contention with a 2-under 69. Maude-Aimee Leblanc of Sherbrooke, Que., is another shot back. Alena Sharp of Hamilton turned in a 72. Charlottetowns Lori Kane and Sara-Maude Juneau of Fossambault, Que., had 73s. Sue Kim of Langley, B.C., had a 4-over 75. Chris Lindstrom Jersey Large . 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Wholesale Custom Falcons Shirts .C. -- Al Jefferson joked that he feels he can score from anywhere on the court. NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Losing in the national championship game, while playing poorly on offense, is all the motivation Jacksonville State coach John Grass has needed this offseason for his Gamecocks.Jacksonville State took a 12-game winning streak into the FCS title game in January only to leave with a 37-10 loss to North Dakota State. So being named the preseason favorite yet again to win the Ohio Valley Conference championship for a third straight season is nice, but the Gamecocks have something much bigger in mind.Our goal is national championship, Gamecocks quarterback Eli Jenkins said Monday. Thats always been our goal since coach Grass came on the scene is a national championship. I want to see all the work we put in over the summer, I want to see how it builds up and how we go into this season.The Gamecocks, who received 16 of 18 first-place votes, is the leagues preseason pick as champ for a third straight year and the fifth in the past seven years in voting announced Monday at OVC media day. Jacksonville State has won the OVC title the past two seasons with at least a share in three of the past five.Last season, Jacksonville State became the first OVC team to be ranked No. 1 in the country since 1999 while going 13-2 and the leagues first to play in the national championship game since 1982. The Gamecocks have gone undefeated in league play the past two seasons, and Grass is 23-4 in two seasons at Jacksonville State.Now Grass has to replace five starters on offense and eight on defense. But he has the leagues preseason picks for players of the year in Jenkins and defensive lineman Darius Jackson back to help. Jenkins threw for 2,788 yards with 21 touchdowns and only eight interceptions, and he also ran for 1,161 yaards and 15 TDs.ddddddddddddJacksonville State lost leading rusher Troymaine Pope to graduation along with Miles Jones. But Grass loaded up this offseason with four FBS transfers led by Auburn running back Roc Thomas, cornerback Al Harris Jr. from South Carolina, Kevin Spears from LSU and offensive lineman Darius Anderson from East Carolina. Josh Clemons, a Kentucky transfer, received another year of eligibility after a foot injury.Jacksonville State certainly is the one with the bulls eye on their back right now because they have won it the last couple years, and they have some great players returning, Eastern Kentucky coach Mark Elder said. But top to bottom, this is a very competitive conference.Eastern Illinois, which also reached the FCS playoffs last season, received the other two first-place votes. The Panthers are predicted to finish third behind Eastern Kentucky followed by UT Martin, Southeast Missouri, Tennessee State, Tennessee Tech, Murray State and Austin Peay. Eastern Illinois won the OVC title in 2012 and 2013, and the Panthers lone league loss last season came to Jacksonville State. They visit the Gamecocks on Oct. 29.We want that trophy back in our house, Eastern Illinois senior offensive lineman Ethan Kanz said. They absolutely earned it. Theyre a great program. They have a lot coming back. ... It definitely motivates us. Were looking forward to playing them.Eastern Kentucky is one of three OVC teams with a new head coach. Tennessee Tech replaced Watson Brown with Marcus Satterfield, and Austin Peay coach Will Healy is the second-youngest coach in Division I at the age of 31. ' ' '