DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – England’s Florentyna Parker shot a 5-under 67 to take a one-shot lead in the opening round of the Dubai Ladies Masters, while a late triple bogey dropped Michelle Wie down the leaderboard on Wednesday.
Wie finished with a 71 after the miscue on the eighth hole at the season-ending tournament on the Ladies European Tour.
Maria Verchenova of Russia was second at 68, a shot better than Marianne Skarpnord of Norway, Julieta Granada of Paraguay, Morgana Robbertze of South Africa and Bo-mi Suh of South Korea.
The 130th-ranked Parker, who was 11th on the European Tour money list, birdied three of her first four holes and five of the first nine. She had a one birdie and a bogey on the back nine.
“I had a great start and was hitting close to the pin and made the putts,” Parker said. “I felt really comfortable. You have a few birdies and think you can birdie every hole. It just gives you confidence.”
The 10th-ranked Wie, who has been battling a bad back for weeks, was in second for much of the day after making two birdies on her first nine holes and an eagle after the turn. Wie was at 3 under before No. 8, where she hit her drive out of bounds and the next shot into a bunker.
“I was pretty mad. I was like, I can’t believe that just happened,” Wie said. “But things happen on the golf course and all you can do is get mad for a little bit and move forward.”
She finished with a birdie her final hole.
In the race for the European money title, neither South African Lee-Anne Pace (73) nor her only challenger, seven-time winner Laura Davies (75), stood out.
Pace, who tops the money list, can become the first South African to win the Order of Merit if she fends off a challenge from Davies, who needs a top-two finish.
Davies is 60th and in danger of missing the cut, which will be the top 50 players. She blamed her “awful” round on fatigue after she was awaken by a phone call at 1 a.m. and couldn’t get back to sleep.
“You don’t like using excuses, but from the word go I told Johnny we are in trouble here,” Davies said, referring to her caddie Johnny Scott. “I made a ridiculous double bogey on 10 and then it was a real struggle. To be honest, three-over is not a bad effort.”
Davies said she hadn’t given up and was inspired by a birdie on the 18th.
“It’s not the end of the world yet,” she said. “We have to shoot 5 or 6 under every day for the next three days.”