SINGAPORE (AP) — Spain’s Azahara Munoz shot a 7-under 65 Thursday for a two-stroke lead after the first round of the HSBC Women’s Champions, which features 17 of the top 20 LPGA players.
Munoz played in the day’s first group and finished with seven birdies. Five players at Sentosa Golf Club shared second at 67: Stacy Lewis, Karin Sjodin, Lizette Salas, Pornanong Phatlum and Sun Young Yoo.
Munoz is coming off her strongest season on tour, winning her first title at the Sybase Match Play Championship and enjoying nine top-10 finishes.
“I don’t know what it is but my best three rounds on tour have been first tee time,” she said. “I really like it. You don’t have to wait, it’s super nice, the greens are perfect. I think it gets me going.”
Paula Creamer was in a four-way tie at 68 despite an injured right shoulder from a car accident. The five-car accident happened on the way to the airport after the Honda LPGA tournament in Thailand.
Two other players, Ai Miyazato and Suzann Pettersen, sustained minor injuries in the crash. Miyazato pulled out of the HSBC Champions on Wednesday, citing stiffness in her back, neck and shoulder.
Also at 68 were top-ranked Yani Tseng of Taiwan, Danielle Kang and Chella Choi.
Tseng, a five-time major winner, was five shots off the lead before sinking a 25-foot putt for eagle on the 18th hole. Tseng hasn’t won a tournament in nearly a year, but she has started the 2013 season with a second-place finish at the Australian Open and a tie for third at Thailand last weekend.
She said she made a bet with her manager, Naya Hsu, on Thursday morning to better motivate herself. If she scored a 68 or better, Hsu agreed to go skydiving with her in Hawaii.
“When that putt dropped in, I was so happy,” Tseng said. “I was looking for her. I saw her face, I think she’s going to cry.
“I think it feels good because I haven’t had that feeling for a long time,” she said. “The last two weeks, kind of a little rushed, trying to play well on the first day. And today I’ve been patient because I know it’s only the first day, I still have three days left.”
Creamer was just happy to be on the course after her accident. She said she jammed her shoulder when she hit the dashboard of the car and suffered whiplash after slamming her head off the headrest.
“At the beginning of the round, I really couldn’t feel my right side and I didn’t know if I was going to be able to even go,” she said. “I thought if I could get through the first five holes, I would be OK. I have no expectations whatsoever this week,” she said.
Second-ranked Na Yeon Choi, who is trying to close in on Tseng’s No. 1 ranking, shot a 69. Michelle Wie, South Korea’s Jiyai Shin and Australia’s Karrie Webb were at 71, with Pettersen at 73. Defending champion Angela Stanford had a quadruple bogey on the par-4 13th en route to a 76.
More Related Stories
- This is what Guy Fieri looks like as a balloon
- Iran hackers aiming at U.S. energy firms
- Lawyers release data in attempt to discredit Trayvon Martin
- Anonymous rallies behind Kaitlyn Hunt
- Bridge collapse: Part of "aging infrastructure"
- Mistrial in penalty phase of Arias case
- Amanda Bynes arrested after hurling bong from window
- Interstate 5 bridge collapses north of Seattle
- Mississippi could begin prosecuting women for miscarriages
- Teenage girl claims she was beaten up for looking like Taylor Swift
- UK Military: London attack victim was a "model soldier"
- Billionaire hedge funder: Babies, breast-feeding "kill" focus, keep women from succeeding
- "Bookless library" set to open in Texas
- 2 more arrested in London attacks
- Glenn Beck: CNN interview with atheist tornado survivor was a setup!
- Incoming BBC news director on journalism gender gap: "We can do better"
- Illegal construction, shoddy materials at fault in Bangladesh factory disaster
- Ahead of Obama's speech, U.S. acknowledges four American drone killings
- Must-see morning clip: Bill O'Reilly visits "The Daily Show"
- Lawsuit alleges anti-gay hiring practices at ExxonMobil
- Boy Scouts poised to vote, still greatly divided on gay youth
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11