Japan’s Mika Miyazato made the most of her early tee time, firing a six-under 65 on Friday to share the first round lead at the ShopRite LPGA Classic with Stacy Lewis.
On a day when conditions favored the early starters, Miyazato played in the first group of the morning.
She birdied the par-five third hole and added another birdie at the par-four fifth before rolling in a 20 foot eagle putt at the par-five ninth to lie four-under at the turn.
The player also birdied two par-threes on the back nine, 11 and 17, to put herself in position to strike for a first LPGA title, nearly holing her tee shot at 17 before making the three-footer for birdie.
“I hit it almost perfect,” Miyazato said of her round. “I think putting was more off today and second shot, I had more confidence.”
Her US competitor, Lewis, overcame a double-bogey six at the par-four second hole with an eagle at the par-five third and six birdies for a share of the lead on the Bay Course at the Seaview resort.
Paula Creamer of the US and Colombia’s Mariajo Uribe were tied for third two strokes behind the leaders on 67.
Canadian Maude-Aimee LeBlanc was alone on 68, with a group of seven players — including teen phenomenon Lexi Thompson, Spain’s Azahara Munoz and Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist and Karin Sjodin — on 69.
World No. 1 Yani Tseng of Taiwan, winner of three titles already this season, posted an even-par 71 that included four birdies and four bogeys. She sits back in 24th place.
After the first hole, the 23-year-old Taiwanese star’s powerful swing was offset by strong winds that caused her to record a bogey on the second hole. Tseng made up the loss with a birdie on the third hole. However, she failed to continue swinging well, scoring a two-over par and two other bogeys heading to the back nine.
After the shock performance on the first nine holes, Tseng got her grip back a bit, bagging a birdie on the 10th hole and then another one on the 12th hole to even the score. However, the momentum did not last long, as she swallowed her fourth bogey of the day on the 14th hole.
With a birdie on the last hole, her fourth of the day, Tseng wrapped up the round with a score of par.
Defending champion Brittany Lincicome finished with a 72.
As the wind picked up and clouds gathered in the afternoon, scoring became more difficult.
Taiwan’s Amy Hung finished the round in a 19-way tie for 68th with a three-over 74, recording three birdies and six bogeys, while compatriot Candie Kung failed to make the cut after finishing in 114th place with a six-over 77.
Additional reporting by staff writer