RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – Sakura Yokomine shot a 2-under 70 Thursday to tie for 10th after the first round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship, but Ai Miyazato struggled to a 74 to share 51st.
Yokomine, the 2009 Japan LPGA money leader, was three strokes behind leader Suzann Pettersen of Norway after making four birdies against two bogeys in the U.S. LPGA Tour’s first major of the year.
The 24-year-old putted brilliantly, making birdies from 30 feet on the sixth hole and 20 feet on the ninth, her last hole of the day, at Mission Hills Country Club.
“I had a good score and enjoyed my round. My putts were good today. Even when I missed the fairways with my drives, I still made pars,” said Yokomine. “In the past, making pars was good enough for me in overseas tournaments. I might’ve become a better golfer.”
Miyazato, who has won the first two of the three events held so far this year, finished her round without a birdie and tied with compatriots Yuko Mitsuka and Shinobu Moromizato.
“I made some good par putts, but I couldn’t convert birdie chances because I put the ball on the wrong parts of the greens,” said Miyazato. “My distance control was a bit off with irons because of the wind.”
Momoko Ueda carded a 72 to share 23rd, while Chie Arimura and Mika Miyazato shot 73s to tie for 34th.
Pettersen shot a flawless 67 to take a one-shot lead over 2008 champion Lorena Ochoa. Karrie Webb and Yani Tseng were in a group of seven tied for third, another shot behind.
Fudo, Lim tied
FUKUROI , Shizuoka Pref. (Kyodo) Yuri Fudo and South Korea’s Lim Eun A shot 2-under 70s to share the clubhouse lead Friday as the rain-hit first round of the Yamaha Ladies Open was suspended due to darkness.
Fudo and Lim each had four birdies and two bogeys at Katsuragi Golf Club, where rain forced a three-hour delay to the start of play.
Chieko Amanuma followed with a 71.
Among the players who did not complete their rounds, 2008 money leader Miho Koga was 3 under through 16 holes.
Defending champion Hwang Ah Reum of South Korea also needs to play the last two holes early Saturday after sitting at 2 under.