Pettersen nabs top position in Taiwan

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Yang Mei, Taiwan ( - Defending champion Suzann Pettersen shot 4-under-par 68 on Thursday to grab a 3-stroke lead through the opening round of the LPGA Taiwan Championship

Pettersen, who is ranked second in the world, countered a pair of bogeys with six birdies at Sunrise Golf & Country Club.

"It was a tough day out there, conditions were not great," said Pettersen. "I've played this course in nicer conditions. Once the rain stopped, the wind picked up, so I mean, it's your pick, if you want rain or you want wind."

Caroline Hedwall, Alison Walshe, Karine Icher and Irene Cho carded matching 1- under 71s to snare a share of second place.

Paula Creamer highlights a group of eight players tied for sixth place at even-par 72.

Hometown favorite Yani Tseng, who won this event in 2011, stumbled to an opening-round 76. The former world No. 1 is tied for 47th place.

Pettersen opened with a par at the first and a bogey at the second, but she recovered with back-to-back birdies from the fifth to turn at 1-under.

From there, Pettersen emerged from a crowded leaderboard with a run of three consecutive birdies from the 10th to reach 4-under.

Pettersen added another birdie at the 15th, but she gave that shot back at the par-3 16th, then parred out to grab the first-round lead at 4-under.

"I don't really feel comfortable around this place because the wind is all over, but I feel pretty good with my game," admitted Pettersen. "I feel my ball-striking is pretty much where I want it to be. I've got to just be very clear on what I'm trying to do and step up and do it. I hit some great approaches on the back and I hit some good ones on the front."

Tseng has struggled to return to her former perch atop the women's rankings, as she has posted only has four top-10 finishes on tour this season. Thursday's round at Sunrise Golf & Country Club featured six bogeys against a pair of birdies for the local favorite.

NOTES: Pettersen has finished in the top seven in seven straight tournaments and nine of the last 10, including two victories ... Tseng has not won since the 2012 Kia Classic ... World No. 1 Inbee Park is not competing in this event ... Park, Pettersen and Stacy Lewis are the only players with at least three wins on the season.