WILLIAMSBURG (Virginia): Mexican rookie Lorena Ochoa, Italy's Giulia Sergas and American Denise Killeen each fired a five-under par 66 to share the lead after the first round of the inaugural LPGA Kingsmill Open.
The US$1.6mil event, on the site of a former PGA tournament, has South Koreans Grace Park and Han Hee-won sharing fourth at 67.
Sweden's Annika Sorenstam is on 68 along with Norway's Suzann Pettersen, Japan's Akiko Fukushima and Britain's Karen Stupples. Korean star pak Se-ri and France's Patricia Meunier-Lebouc were in a group on 69.
Ochoa's bogey-free round began on the back nine and included three birdies in a row, a pair of two footers around a 10-foot effort at the par-4 15th. A five-foot birdie at the third and 10-foot birdie at the eighth completed her effort.
“I hit my driver very, very good,” Ochoa said. “I'm extremely happy with my day. I'm just going to try things one day at a time.
“If I'm leading the tournament or close to the lead, I think for this tournament there are many holes out there, just try to be patient, you know, get in a good position for the weekend and, hopefully I can play good.”
Sergas, who began on the back side, birdied four out of five holes starting at the 17th, then finished by sandwiching a pair of birdies around a bogey at the par-4 eighth when a four-foot par putt lipped out.
“The ball was running and the driver was straight,” Sergas said. “My iron was good. I was just having fun. I hit my driver really long, so I could go on the green every time.”
It was the lowest round Sergas fired at an LPGA event.
“After the first 10 holes, I knew it could be a really good round because in 10 holes I understood that I was hitting the ball as I am used to,” she said.
Killeen, whose husband John caddies for LPGA rival Pat Hurst, sank seven birdies, overcoming tee shots into bunkers on the second and fourth holes that led to bogeys. – AFP