Suzann Pettersen shot a 7-under 65 on Wednesday at breezy Ko Olina to take the lead halfway through the first round of the LPGA Lotte Championship.
The Norwegian, a 10-time winner on the LPGA Tour, had nine birdies and two bogeys in her morning round.
”I went out today and tried to be really aggressive,” said Pettersen, coming off a third-place tie two weeks in the Kraft Nabisco Championship. ”My dad was so disappointed after the Kraft that I left all the putts short. He’s like, `You got to hit the ball past the hole to make putts.”’
Spain’s Beatriz Recari, playing alongside Pettersen and Angela Stanford the first two rounds, was two strokes back along with South Korea’s So Yeon Ryu, American Jane Park and Canada’s Rebecca Lee-Bentram.
Playing the back nine first, Recari birdied four of the first six holes.
”We teed off at 7:50 and it was already blowing pretty hard, especially on the back nine,” Recari said. ”Those holes are really open to the ocean. So, I think it was a good challenge out there.
She won the Kia Classic last month for her second LPGA Tour victory.
”The thing is, when you win, you want to keep winning,” Recari said. ”I didn’t feel like I just wanted to sit back and relax and just kind of cruise. Obviously, you want to put yourself in that position again and, hopefully, get more trophies.”
Lee-Bentram opened with nine straight pars, then birdied five of the next seven holes in her bogey-free round.
I just told myself to be patient,” Lee-Bentram said. ”Putts weren’t going in on the front nine, but I was making pars. I knew if I kept making pars the birdies would come. It did happen.”
Third-ranked Yani Tseng, winless in more than year, opened with a 71.
Top-ranked Inbee Park, No. 2 Stacy Lewis, 15-year-old New Zealand amateur star Lydia Ko and local favorite Michelle Wie were among the afternoon starters. Park has two victories – the LPGA Thailand and the Kraft Nabisco – in five starts this year. Lewis also has won twice this season.