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Defending champion Pettersen jumps out to early lead in Taiwan LPGA event

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    Despite the rain and poor visibility, Suzann Pettersen of Norway, tees off on the first day of the Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship tournament at the Sunrise Golf & Country Club, Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013, in Yangmei, north eastern Taiwan. (AP Photo/Wally Santana) (The Associated Press)

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    Yani Tseng of Taiwan, reacts to cheers from fans as she prepares to tee off on the first hole during the first round of the Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship tournament at the Sunrise Golf & Country Club, Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013, in Yangmei, north eastern Taiwan. (AP Photo/Wally Santana) (The Associated Press)

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    Ai Miyazato of Japan, tees off on the first hole during the first round of the Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship tournament at the Sunrise Golf & Country Club, Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013, in Yangmei, north eastern Taiwan. (AP Photo/Wally Santana) (The Associated Press)

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    Michelle Wie of the United States, tees off on the first hole during the first round of the Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship tournament at the Sunrise Golf & Country Club, Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013, in Yangmei, north eastern Taiwan. (AP Photo/Wally Santana) (The Associated Press)

Defending champion Suzann Pettersen shot a 4-under 68 for a three-stroke lead after the first round of the Sunrise Championship on Thursday.

Americans Alison Walshe and Irene Cho and Caroline Hedwall of Sweden were tied for second at 71 with most of the field having completed the round.

LPGA Tour points leader Inbee Park is not competing in Taiwan. A victory would allow Pettersen to close the gap on the South Korean and set up a tight finish to the season.