SHIMA, Japan (AP) — South Korea’s Jiyai Shin shot a 7-under 65 Friday to share the lead with Japan’s Yukari Baba after the first round of the Mizuno Classic.
Shin, No. 1 in the LPGA rankings, got off to a strong start with four straight birdies before she finished with five on the front nine at the Kintetsu Kashikojima Country Club.
Shin, who won the tournament in 2008, had two bogeys after the turn but added four more birdies to pull even with Baba.
Still, Shin felt she could have played better.
“It looks great if you have a look at my score, but there were a lot of shots and putts that I regret, so I am not satisfied with my golf,” she said.
American Morgan Pressel was a stroke back at 6 under, offsetting a lone bogey with seven birdies, including one on the 18th hole.
“I got off to a little bit of a rough start,” Pressel said. “I just felt like I wasn’t hitting the ball that well on the front nine. I finally hit some ten footers for birdie on the back nine.”
South Korea’s Na Yeon Choi, who successfully defended her title in the LPGA Hana Bank Championship in Korea last week, was tied for fourth with five others after a 67.
Japan’s Ai Miyazato, a five-time winner on the LPGA Tour this season, struggled with her game and shot an even 72.
Miyazato is vying to become the first player from Japan to capture Player of the Year honors since Ayako Okamoto in 1987. She currently sits second in the race, two points behind leader Yani Tseng.
The $1.2 Mizuno Classic is the LPGA’s lone tournament in Japan.