LAS VEGAS, April 17 (UPI) -- Laura Diaz converted a closing birdie to finish at 6-under-par 66 Thursday and grab a share of the first-round lead at the LPGA Takefuji Classic.
With her birdie on the par-5 18th hole, Diaz matched her low round of the year and tied Catriona Matthew atop the leaderboard.
Diaz and Matthew were one shot in front of four others while defending champion Annika Sorenstam struggled to an even-par 72 and was six strokes back.
It did not look like Diaz, who has one top-10 finish this year, would be in the lead after she three-putted the par-3 17th hole.
But at the par-5 18th, Diaz hit a wedge shot to within eight feet and sank the birdie putt.
"I putted really solid all day and it was disappointing to three-putt," she said. "I felt I made a pretty good putt at it, but it was unfortunate and I was very upset when I missed the putt coming back. But I was a little happy at 18."
Throughout the day, Diaz used an unorthodox method of talking to her ball after hitting it.
"It is a way to release some energy out there even though I know it really doesn't do anything," Diaz said. "It is a way for me to vocalize how I'm feeling at the time. It just feels good."
Starting on the back nine, Matthew began her round in impressive fashion with an eagle at the par-5 10th hole. She also closed strong with birdies on her final two holes at the Las Vegas Country Club.