Michelle Wie seizes first-round lead at HSBC Women's Champions

By The Sports Xchange  |  March 2, 2017 at 11:27 AM
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Michelle Wie recorded six of her eight birdies in a 10-hole stretch on Thursday to highlight an impressive performance in the first round of the HSBC Women's Champions in Singapore.

The 27-year-old Wie finished her round at the new Tanjong course with a 6-under-par 66, one shot better than pack of five majors champions -- Ariya Jutanugarn, Brooke Henderson, Olympic winner Inbee Park, Mo Martin and Anna Nordqvist.

"Yeah, you know, it feels good to play without much pain," Wie said after laboring through an injury-plagued 2016 season. "To go out there and just play some golf and focus on my game rather than trying to finish out rounds.

"I'm very proud of myself today. Putting myself in a position, it's always exciting to be on the top of the leaderboard or near the top of the leaderboard. Even though it's just the first day I want to just keep building and hopefully the next three days I can take it day by day, hole-by-hole, shot by shot and play as hard as I can."

Wie, who has managed just one top-10 finish since 2014, is entering this tournament on a sponsor's invitation after her ranking slipped to No. 179.

She showed she belongs by answering a bogey on the third hole with three straight birdies. Wie followed that up by draining a 12-foot putt on the 11th and another lone putt for birdies to begin the back nine.

Park remained hot on her heels while competing in her second tournament after taking a six-month break.

"Trying to get some confidence and trying to work on the stuff that I need to do, learn something from the golf course, and that's what I exactly did last week," Park said. "Seems like it has been helping me to play this week."

Nordqvist highlighted her performance with three straight birdies on holes Nos. 5-7.

"I got off to a really good start. I hit it close on 1 and then made a good par putt on 3 and I birdied 5,6 and 7," Nordqvist said. "Then got caught up a little bit on the downslope and tried to go for it and hit it in the hazard, so I made a great bogey on 8. But yeah, a really good start. I was hitting a lot of good shots just very excited to be back playing."

Stacy Lewis and Paula Creamer resides two strokes in back of Wie, while top-ranked Lydia Ko shot a 69.

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