Paula Creamer and Mariajo Uribe, of Colombia, fired five-under 67s to share the lead after the first round of the LPGA Tour’s Kia Classic on Thursday.
The US’ Creamer won for the tenth time on the Tour earlier this year at the HSBC Women’s Champions, while Uribe claimed the title at the 2011 LPGA Brazil Cup.
“I played pretty solid. I had one bogey, but I gave myself a bunch of opportunities, and you know, putted really well, made some good two-putts,” Creamer said.
Cristie Kerr began her tournament with a four-under 68 at the Park Hyatt Aviara Golf Club. She was joined in third place by China’s Feng Shanshan, England’s Jodi Ewart Shadoff and Lee Mi-hyang of South Korea.
World No. 1 Inbee Park was one stroke back at three-under and shares seventh place with Lexi Thompson, Tiffany Joh, Azahara Munoz and Lizette Salas.
Stacy Lewis fired a two-under 70. She is one of 18 players tied for 12th. Japan’s Ai Miyazato and 2011 US Women’s Open champion Ruy So-yeon are also in the group at two-under.
Taiwan’s Yani Tseng is tied for 30th place after shooting a one-under 71, while her compatriot Candie Kung carded a six-over 78.
The 27-year-old Creamer had consecutive birdies at holes 13 and 14 after beginning her round on the back nine. She added two more birdies on 17 and 18 to make the turn at three-under.
Creamer birdied No. 2 to reach four-under and she tied for the lead with a birdie at the eighth hole.
“I think it’s an advantage playing early in the morning, and I wanted to take that advantage and try and get as many birdies, but eliminate the bogeys,” Creamer said.
Park said she was hoping to improve her short game yesterday.
“Today my ball-striking was great. I hit almost every fairway and every green, and I probably hit at everything inside 15 feet. Didn’t hole anything,” Park said.
“Had two tap-in birdies and one five-footer for birdie. Except for that, it was actually a little tougher day on the greens for me, but the ball striking was just really, really good,” she added.
Additional reporting by staff writer