Golf Course WebsitesGolfRevText Golfer

Feng Setting Pace in Kraft Nabisco Championship


China's Shanshan Feng posted a 6-under 66 to take the 18-hole lead in the Kraft Nabisco Championship. The LPGA Tour's first major of the year began Thursday on the Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

Feng, a 24-year-old with three LPGA victories - including the 2012 LPGA Championship, carded seven birdies and a bogey to go up by a stroke over South Korea's Se Ri Pak and Michelle Wie, and two over Korean Amy Yang and 15-year-old amateur, Angel Yin.

Feng is hoping the Kraft Nabisco will jump-start what has, so far, been a disappointing season. Her tie for 16th in last week's Kia Classic was her best finish of the year.

"The beginning of this year I was kind of a little lost because I lost a little weight and my swing kind of changed a little," she said. "I wasn't swinging very comfortably when we were playing over in Asia. But I do think that my condition is better and better."

Yin is a high-school freshman from the Los Angeles area who qualified on Tuesday. She was paired Thursday with 58-year-old Hall of Fame member Amy Alcott, who shot an 81 in a tournament she's won three times. Alcott is the player who began the Kraft Nabisco tradition of winners leaping into Poppie's Pond off the 18th hole.

Yin, who also played in the event last year but failed to make the 36-hole cut, said she was helped along by Alcott. "She was actually encouraging me," Feng said. "Like I made a bogey on 15, and she was like, 'OK, let's make two birdies back in the last three holes.' I was like, 'Yes, ma'am.' Then I only made one. I didn't make two, but I thought that was good enough."

No. 1-ranked and defending champion Inbee Park got off to a slow start, carding three bogeys against only one birdie for a 74. "The pin positions were very tough for the first day," said Park, who won last year by four shots to secure the first of her three major titles in 2013.

"Half of the pins, we couldn't go at. There were very tough pins out there. I just didn't give myself a lot of opportunities. Obviously, the opportunities I had, I didn't make the putts."

Sixteen-year-old Lydia Ko also had an off-day, posting a 73. The Kia Classic winner, Anna Nordqvist, shot a 71 and another pre-tournament favorite, Stacy Lewis, the 2011 Kraft Nabisco winner, shot a 73.

"The good thing is I'm hitting my irons well and hitting some good putts," Lewis said. "If I can straighten out my driver I'll be right there."

For updated scores, visit www.lpga.com.