Wie among leaders in Mexico
Guadalajara, Mexico – Michelle Wie carded a 6-under 66 on Thursday to grab a share of the lead after the first round of the Lorena Ochoa Invitational.
Wie, who has just two top-20 finishes all season, carded her best score since shooting 66 in the second round of the U.S. Women's Open. The 2009 champion of this event was joined in the lead by Angela Stanford and Candie Kung.
World No. 2 Stacy Lewis, who won last week in Japan, is one stroke back at minus-5 at Guadalajara Country Club. She stands alongside Evian Masters winner Inbee Park, Cristie Kerr, So Yeon Ryu and Karine Icher.
Women's world No. 1 Yani Tseng is tied for 13th after shooting 70 on Thursday. Tseng mixed three birdies and a bogey in her round.
Defending champion Catriona Matthew and tournament host Lorena Ochoa are among nine players tied at minus-1.
In her first LPGA Tour start since 2010, Ochoa birdied the fourth and sixth. After 10 consecutive pars, she stumbled to a bogey on the 17th before making par at the last.
Wie, who has missed 10 cuts in 21 starts this year, got off to a quick start with birdies at one and two. She settled in and ran off seven straight pars from the third.
"It's been a really difficult year. It's been the hardest year I've had so far, but I think the guacamole is helping this week, and I think that might be the changing point," Wie joked. "So I'm going to keep eating it and hopefully it will help."
At the 10th, Wie kicked off her second hot stretch of golf with a birdie on that par-5. She followed with birdies on each of her next three holes to jump to 6-under.
Wie, who has only finished in red figures twice all season, parred her final five holes to grab a share of the first-round lead.
"You know, I got off to a hot start make a couple of birdies in the first few holes, I felt good, I felt like I played pretty consistently today," said Wie. "I really need to take more advantage on the par-5s ... but overall, I'm feeling very good."
Stanford, the HSBC Women's Champions winner, got off to a slow start with six pars and a bogey through seven holes. She dropped in her first birdie of the round at the par-3 eighth and followed with birdies on nine, 10 and 11.
The 2008 champion got to minus-4 with a birdie on the par-4 14th. Stanford came right back with birdies at 15 and 16 to gain a share of the lead. She parred the final two rounds to end there.
"I actually got off to kind of a bumpy start kind of gave myself a little bit of a pep talk then figured something out with my putting and it was just great after that," Stanford said.
Kung drained three birdies in a row from the second before tripping to a bogey at the fifth. After four pars, she got that stroke back with a birdie on the par-5 10th.
The 31-year-old converted back-to-back birdie chances at 14 and 15 to get within one of the lead. Kung birdied the par-5 18th to join Wie and Stanford at minus-6.
"It was a pretty consistent day today. I made a few putts, hit some shots really close and had a couple of tap-ins. Overall, it was just a perfect day out there for scoring," Park stated.
NOTES: Lewis and Park, who are in a tight race for Player of the Year honors, were paired together in round one and again in round two ... I.K. Kim, the 2010 winner, shot 68 and is tied for ninth.