TSUKUBAMIRAI, Ibaraki Pref. (Kyodo) Defending champion Akiko Fukushima shot a 4-under 68 to share the lead with South Koreans Lee Ji Hee, Jeon Mi Jeong and Shin Hyun Ju after the first round of the World Ladies Championship Salonpas Cup on Thursday.

Fukushima, a 23-time winner on the Japan LPGA Tour, had an eagle, three birdies and a bogey in the first major of the year at Ibaraki Golf Club’s West Course.

One shot behind the coleaders were South Korean Hwang Ah Reum, Australian Tamie Durdin, Shinobu Moromizato, Yukari Baba and Yasuko Sato.

World No. 4 Paula Creamer opened with a 71 to tie for 15th place. Sakura Yokomine and Miho Koga both carded 73s.

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