Alena Sharp of Canada posted a 6-under-par 65 and held a one-stroke lead over Michelle Wie and Alejandra Llaneza of Mexico after the first round of the Walmart Northwest Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Ark.
The 33-year-old Sharp, who has won six times as a pro but never on the LPGA Tour, recorded five of her seven birdies while finishing on the front nine and had her only bogey at No. 5.
“I hit a lot of greens today, only missed four,” said Sharp, who won the Canadian PGA Women’s Championship in 2004 and 2005. “I drove it well, wasn’t really in the rough at all, so I got to lift, clean and place, so got a perfect lie almost every time.
“I really didn’t hit it outside of 20 feet much and made a lot of putts. It was really simple. It was fun to just play and not be stressed and just relax and enjoy the day. The greens are so perfect. I mean, they’re rolling so smooth, it’s almost like no one’s played on the greens at all.”
Wie, coming off her victory in the U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst No. 2, continued her strong play with a bogey-free 66 that included four birdies on the back nine.
Llaneza, whose only pro victory came on the Wigwam Cactus Tour, finished her bogey-free 66 with three birdies on the front nine.
Jennifer Rosales of USC and the Philippines shot 66 and was two shots back in a tie for fourth with Gerina Piller, Shanshan Feng of China, Caroline Headwall of Sweden, Ji Young Oh of South Korea, Paz Echevarria of Chile, Pornanong Phatlum of Thailand, Emma Jandel, So Yeon Ryu of South Korea and Moriya Jutanugarn of Thailand.