Singapore (SportsNetwork.com) - Inbee Park and Yani Tseng both carded 6-under 66s in Thursday's first round, and that was good enough to give the duo a 1- shot lead at the HSBC Women's Champions.
Park, the No. 2 player in the world behind 17-year-old Lydia Ko, has 12 career victories on the LPGA Tour, three of which came last season. Park also has five major championship wins under her belt.
Tseng is even more decorated than Park as the 26-year-old and former No. 1 player in the world has 15 wins on tour. Tseng, who was the world's top player for 109 straight weeks from 2011-13, also has five major titles.
Angela Stanford is nipping at the leaders' heels as she shot a 5-under 67 on the Serapong Course at Sentosa Golf Club. Stanford is alone in third.
Ko, coming off her sixth LPGA victory at the Women's Australian Open two weeks ago, has her name near the top of the leaderboard once again. The youngster is tied for fourth at 4-under 68 with Mo Martin, Jenny Shin, Mariajo Uribe and Karrie Webb.
Defending champion Paula Creamer carded a 2-over 74 in her second round and she is tied for 51st.
Park was off to a rather inconspicuous start as she sat below the radar with eight straight pars from No. 1, but she began her attack as she made the turn.
Park then rolled in four birdies in a five-hole stretch from No. 9, and just like that she was up to 4-under on her round.
Following a pair of pars on 15 and 16, Park ended strong with back-to-back gains on 17 and 18, giving her a share of the lead at the end of round one. Park played the first eight holes at even par before finishing her final 10 at minus-6.
"The front nine is a tougher nine on the Serapong Golf Course," said Park. "I didn't play too aggressively on the front nine, but the back nine I had a lot of shots. I hit a lot of shots close and I was able to hole a lot of putts on the back nine, which we have to take advantage of. It was a good round, bogey- free round, a very solid round and I putted very good today, so I'm very happy with that."
Tseng came out firing right from the start, making birdies on one and four, quickly getting her to minus-2. Tseng gave one of those shots back with a bogey on five, but two holes later she rolled in another gain on seven.
After making the turn with four straight pars from eight, Tseng kept rolling with two more birdies on 12 and 13. Tseng made two more pars on 14 and 15 before finishing strong with two gains on 16 and 18 to go along with a par on 17.
"This year, I guess I change new trainer, new coach and I start working on mental more and more, and I feel like awareness myself, how I'm positioned right now, it actually helps me a lot, too," Tseng said. "And self-talk is one of the biggest things out there, because like I say, I tried to be patient and if I don't tell myself to be patient, it's hard to be patient."
Ko got going with a birdie on one before trading a bogey on three for another gain on four. She finished up the front nine with four pars and a birdie on seven.
Following the turn and a par on 10, Ko rolled in back-to-back birdies on 11 and 12. She gave one of those shots back with a bogey on 15, but Ko ended on a high note with her sixth birdie on the par-5 18th.
NOTES: In Park's last two events, she finished tied for fifth at the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic and tied for seventh at the Honda LPGA Thailand ... Tseng is looking to get back to her winning ways as her last victory came at the 2012 Kia Classic. Tseng won three times that year ... Ko did not play at the LPGA's Women's Australian Open last week, but she did go on to win her second straight New Zealand Women's Open ... Lexi Thompson had a hole-in-one on the par-3 14th hole.