Pak, Kim, Ryu tied at top

Se Ri Pak shot 4-under-par 68 to tie two other South Koreans, So Yeon Ryu and Hyo Joo Kim, for the lead after one round of the LPGA Lotte Championship in breezy conditions at Ko Olina Golf Club in Kapolei, Oahu, Hawaii.

The 36-year-old Pak, who has won 25 times on the LPGA Tour but is winless since 2010, took the lead with an eagle on the fifth hole while finishing on the front nine, but fell back into the tie when she carded her only bogey at the eighth hole.

“I got off to a really good start today,” said Pak, a five-time major champion. “Obviously, the wind wasn’t blowing as hard for my first five holes. The greens seem a little bit more slippery and I had troubles on the back nine controlling the distance. You have to have perfect contact to ride the wind.

“The last few years, I have been giving little time for my putting, but the last couple of weeks I have more consistency. I feel great and I make some more putts that I’m supposed to make, so that’s giving more momentum as we walk to the next hole. That helps a lot.”

Ryu, who captured the 2011 U.S. Women’s Open before she became an LPGA member and came back last season to become Rookie of the Year, recorded five birdies and also had her only bogey at No. 8.

Kim, 19, who won the 2012 China Ladies Open, like Pak held the lead at 5-under before making her lone bogey on her final hole of the day, No. 9.

Ayako Uehara of Japan collected seven birdies, but also had four bogeys in a round of 69 and was one-stroke back in fourth, while Michelle Wie shot 70 in her return home to Hawaii and was tied for fifth with top-ranked Inbee Park of South Korea, Amy Anderson and two more South Koreans, So Young Lee and Ha Na Jang.

Suzann Petterson of Norway was unable to defend her title because of a back injury that knocked her out of a third consecutive tournament.

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