Feng Shanshan, coming off the first major victory by a golfer from China, fired a five-under par 66 to stand second during the first round at the storm-halted Manulife Financial LPGA Classic.
US rookie Sandra Changkija matched the low first-round score of the LPGA season, an eight-under par 63, to grab the lead with half of the field of 144 unable to finish their opening 18 holes because of a threat of lightning.
The first round was due to resume on yesterday morning at Grey Silo Golf Course in the inaugural edition of the US$1.3 million event.
Feng, ranked fourth in the world, won her first career LPGA title two weeks ago at the LPGA Championship and shined in her first competitive round as a major champion.
Feng birdied the second, par-5 sixth and par-4 eighth, the par-3 12th and par-4 14th ahead of her lone bogey at the par-4 15th, which she answered with a birdie at the par-5 18th to claim second place all to herself.
Sweden’s Karin Sjodin, Norway’s Suzann Pettersen and US players Lacey Agnew and Angela Stanford shared third on 67. Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist was on five-under with five holes yet to finish when play was stopped.
Changkija, ranked No. 527 in the world, is trying to raise US$25,000 on Facebook to help with expenses in her rookie LPGA season, but so far had gotten only US$40. A triumph tomorrow would be worth US$195,000 to the 23-year-old US player.
Changkija, who began off the 10th tee, fired a six-under 30 on her inward nine, the course’s front side. After birdies at 16 and 18, she added another at the second and then began a run of five birdies in a row at the par-4 fourth.
Changkija has made only two cuts in seven events this season with a best finish of 55th at the ShopRite Classic, giving her only US$6,708 in prize money for the year.