Ayako Uehara of Japan shot 4-under-par 68 in the first round to take a one-stroke lead over Mo Martin of Altadena in the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Southport, England.
Uehara, whose three professional victories all came on the Japan LPGA Tour, made a bogey on the first hole, but got it going with three birdies in four holes through No. 8 and added two more on he back nine, the last at No. 18.
“Today, my putting so good,” Uehara said. “Before this week, my putting not so good.
“(My course) in Okinawa, like a links course, is windy every time, like this. So wind I can I can play.”
Martin, a 2005 graduate of UCLA who has not won on the LPGA Tour, birdied three of her last five holes to finish off her 69.
Mina Harigae of Monterey overcame a double-bogey 6 on the first hole with birdies on four of the last six to shoot 70 and was tied for third with Morgan Pressel and Sarah Kemp of Australia.
Top-ranked Stacy Lewis, who has won three times this season, opened with a 71 and was tied for sixth with Amy Yang of South Korea, Holly Clyburn of England and So Yeon Ryu of South Korea.
Lexi Thompson, the Kraft Nabisco champion, was in a tie for 10th with 13 players at 72, and U.S. Women’s Open champion Michelle Wie struggled to a 75 and was tied for 48th.