Ochoa, Kerr, Stanford share lead at HSBC

(Left to right) Lorena Ochoa, Cristie Kerr and Angela Stanford

(Left to right) Lorena Ochoa, Cristie Kerr and Angela Stanford

SINGAPORE – Top-ranked Lorena Ochoa birdied two of the final three holes for a 4-under 68 and a share of the first-round lead Thursday at a hot, windy HSBC Champions.

Cristie Kerr, Angela Stanford and Hee Young Park also shot 68s. Kerr birdied five of the last six holes on Tanah Merah’s Garden Course, Stanford had a bogey-free round, and Park overcame three bogeys with seven birdies.

“I’m really happy with 4 under,” Ochoa said. “I left some out there, but hopefully I’ll get them tomorrow.”

Ochoa won the 2008 tournament by 11 strokes, finishing at 20-under 268.

Ai Miyazato, the winner Sunday in the season-opening LPGA Thailand, was a stroke back along with Sophie Gustafson, Christina Kim and Song-Hee Kim.

Defending champion Jiyai Shin opened with a 71, and Michelle Wie had a 72.

Several players said the swirling wind made play more difficult in the afternoon.

“When we started it was blowing one direction and as it picked up it started to change direction,” Stanford said. “It was a little tricky coming down the stretch today.”

Kerr got off to a rough start, with bogeys on two of the first three holes, but she finished with birdies on five of the last six.

Singaporean Joey Poh, who won an amateur tournament to qualify, was in last with an 82.

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