S. Korea's Shin, Japan's Uehara share Mizuno Classic top spot
November 3, 2012, 12:03 am TWN
SHIMA, Japan -- South Korean Jiyai Shin shot 4-under 68 on Friday to share the first-round lead of the Mizuno Classic with Japan's Ayako Uehara.
Shin, who also won at Kintetsu Kashikojima Country Club in 2010 and 2008, had three straight birdies on the front nine and added two more after the turn, offsetting a bogey at the par-4 No. 9.
“I'm glad I was able to play well in such tough conditions,” Shin said. “The wind really made it tough to drive but I was able to make up for that with my approach shots and putting. It was a good start and I only had one bogey, hopefully the last one for the week.”
Uehara bogeyed the par-4 10th but then birdied the next three holes to add to birdies on Nos. 4 and 8.
American Angela Stanford and defending champion Momoko Ueda of Japan were in a group of six golfers tied for second at 3 under. Japan's Maiko Wakabayashi, China's Shanshan Feng, South Korea's Na Yeon Choi and Spain's Beatriz Recari were also in the group.
Ueda, who also won here in 2007, is bidding to become the first Japanese to win back-to-back titles in the 40-year history of the event.
“I really feel like this course suits my game,” said Ueda, who birdied the last hole. “If I can keep my nerves in check I can play well here and get a good result.”
South Korea's Inbee Park, who opened the LPGA Tour's Asian swing with a victory in Malaysia and finished second last week in Taiwan, shot a 70 to be tied for ninth.
Park, who is looking to move ahead of American Stacy Lewis for the points-based LPGA player of the year award, struggled with the windy conditions and offset three bogeys with five birdies.
Taiwan's Yani Tseng and Lewis were tied for 19th at 71.