GUADALAJARA, Mexico (AP) – Michelle Wie shot a 6-under 66 on Thursday for a share of the first-round lead in the Lorena Ochoa Invitational with Angela Stanford and Candie Kung.
The 2009 tournament winner for the first of her two LPGA Tour victories, Wie birdied the first two holes at Guadalajara Country Club and opened the back nine with four straight birdies in the bogey-free round that matched her best score of the year.
“It's nice to come back to a golf course where we have a lot of good memories,'' Wie said. “I think the fans are really fun when they come to watch, and I really hope they come to watch. The food is great, everything about this place is great. It's always really fun to come back here.''
She got into the 36-player field on a sponsor invitation after failing to qualify.
“It's been a really difficult year,'' Wie said. “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, so I'm going to keep eating it and hopefully it will help.''
Stanford won the inaugural event in 2008. She is trying to win for the second time this year.
“Well, it would mean quite a bit,'' Stanford said. “I think any time you can win multiple times in a year that's a pretty good year. So, that and the opportunity to when here again would be pretty cool.''
Kung is playing for the fifth straight week.
“I was pretty tired, I got here on Monday, midnight and actually slept all the way through Tuesday, and yesterday I slept pretty good, too,'' Kung said. I went to bed at 7 and I actually feel really good today. I feel like a new person after the last four weeks.''
Second-ranked Stacy Lewis, coming off her tour-leading fourth victory of the season Sunday in Japan, was a stroke back along with Inbee Park, Cristie Kerr, So Yeon Ryu and Karine Icher.
Lewis has a 58-point lead over Park with two events left in the player of the year points race, putting her in position to become the first American to win the award since Beth Daniel in 1994.
Lewis and Park were paired together.
“We actually hadn't played together this year,'' Lewis said. “It was fun to play together when we are both playing really well. It was a fun day to kind of see how our games stack up. Obviously, by the scores, our games are pretty close.''
Ochoa opened with a 71. The Mexican star won 27 LPGA Tour titles before retiring at age 28 in 2010. She missed the event last year before the birth of son Pedro in December.
Suzann Pettersen, making her first start since winning consecutive events in South Korea and Taiwan, was four strokes back at 70 in a group that included top-ranked Yani Tseng.
Defending champion Catriona Matthew had a 71.