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Nordqvist off to Fast Start in LPGA Thailand
Anna Nordqvist fired a 6-under 66 to take the 18-hole lead in the Honda LPGA Thailand. The $1.5 million, 72-hole event started Thursday at Siam Country Club's Pattaya Old Course.
The 26-year-old Swede carded four birdies on the front nine to make the turn in 4-under 32, then tacked on two more birdies along with a pair of bogeys and an eagle on the par-4 15th hole.
She leads Michelle Wie by a stroke and Wie's fellow Americans Jennifer Johnson, Angela Stanford and Lexi Thompson by two.
Nordqvist eagle, which followed her only two bogeys of the day on Nos. 13 and 14, came when her 60-yard approach landed past the cup and spun back into the hole. "Had pretty good yardage and it was on the top tier, so I just pitched it five or six paces behind the pin and it spun back," she said.
"So, obviously, gave me some momentum to finish off. I just tried to stay in there after the two bogeys, because I didn't feel like I hit bad shots. I just got flyers out of the rough."
Wie started out well with birdies on the first two holes before her lone bogey on the par-4 third. From that point forward, the 24-year-old Hawaiian was flawless, adding four more birdies to finish off her 67.
The Pattaya course favors long hitters, which fits Wie's style of play. "It's definitely one of those golf courses," Wie said. "I don't get to use a lot of drivers during the year. This is one of the few golf courses that I get to just hit driver all the time. So it's fun."
Despite Nordqvist's eagle, Stanford had the shot of the day, a hole-in-one on the par-3 eighth hole. Using an 8-iron, the 36-year-old Texan saw her tee ball find the cup on the 135-yard hole. Her eagle accompanied four birdies and a pair of bogeys.
"It's kind of hard with hole-in-ones because you do get almost too high and you go to the next tee box and think, 'Oh, I have to hit another golf shot,'" Stanford said of her ace. "It's hard because it's like an out-of-body experience. Well, for me, because I haven't had many."
No. 1 Inbee Park opened with a 71, while second-ranked Suzann Pettersen shot a 69. Park, the defending champion, admitted she needed to shake off the rust in her first start of 2014 following a prolonged break from competition.
"I think it was just like I didn't have much feeling that it was a tournament because it has been a while since I played a golf tournament," she said. "I think I was a little bit nervous."
Also carding 71s were third-ranked Stacy Lewis and Karrie Webb, who won last week's Australian Women's Open.
For all the scores, visit www.lpga.com.