Mie, Japan (SportsNetwork.com) - Shiho Oyama carded a 4-under 68 on Friday to grab a 1-stroke lead after the opening round of the Mizuno Classic.
Oyama tops a crowded leaderboard that has 18 players within two shots of the lead.
"I been having this neck ache that's been affecting my golf recently but yesterday I had some massage and needle massage and the pain is gradually fading," said Oyama.
Jiyai Shin, the 2008 and 2010 champion, and Brittany Lincicome headline a group of nine players that share second at minus-3. They were joined there by Na Ri Lee, Pernilla Lindberg, Hee-Won Han, Junko Omote, Kaori Nakamura, Chella Choi and Eun-Bi Jang.
Brittany Lang posted a 2-under 70 at Kintetsu Kashikojima Country Club to grab a piece of 11th place. She stands alongside Danielle Kang, Mamiko Higa, Austin Ernst, Asako Fujimoto, Jenny Rosales, Teresa Lu, Yuki Ichinose and Esther Lee.
Defending champion Stacy Lewis mixed two birdies and a bogey in a round of 71. She is tied for 20th place with 15 other players at minus-1.
"It was kind of up and down," said Lewis. "I probably could have played a lot better but I think it could have been worse. I played really tough through a lot of cross winds and I just hung in there all day. I knew scores weren't going to be low and I just needed to hang in there and try my best. But I definitely kept myself in the tournament and that was the goal."
Oyama, who is making her first LPGA Tour start since the 2011 season, converted a birdie effort at the second. After a pair of pars, she dropped in a birdie try at the fifth.
She came right back with birdies at six and seven to move to 4-under. Around the turn, Oyama dropped in her fifth birdie of the day at the par-4 10th.
Oyama stumbled out of the lead as she tripped to bogeys at 11 and 14. She got one shot back with a birdie on the par-5 16th. Oyama parred the last two holes to lead by one.
Shin got off to a quick start with birdies at the first and fourth. She remained at 2-under with five pars in a row from the fifth. On the back nine, Shin traded a birdie for a bogey from the 10th.
The two-time champion birdied the par-5 13th to return to minus-3. Shin dropped a shot on the 15th, but erased that mistake with a birdie at 16. She parred the last two to end one back.
Lincicome eagled the par-5 opening hole, but tripped to a bogey on No. 2. After birdies at six and seven got her to minus-3, Lincicome faltered to bogeys at eight and nine. She birdied the two par-5s on the back nine, Nos. 13 and 16, to gain a share of second place.
Omote and Jang both had bogey-free rounds. Jang's three birdies came on three straight holes from the 15th to 17th. Na-Ri Lee mixed five birdies and two bogeys in her round of 69.
Lindberg, Han, Nakamura and Choi all carded four birdies and a lone bogey on their rounds.
NOTES: Lewis fired an 8-under 64 in the final round last year to rally for the win ... Lewis is one of five players ranked in the top 10 in the world competing this week. The others are So Yeon Ryu (71), Shanshan Feng (72), Karrie Webb (72), Catriona Matthew (71), Shin and Hee Young Park (75) ... The field consists of 43 LPGA Tour players and 35 members of the LPGA of Japan.