• Kyodo

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Ayako Uehara posted a 7-under-par 65 to finish three shots adrift of leader Katherine Kirk after the first round of the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic on Thursday.

Uehara had seven birdies in a bogey-free round at Thornberry Creek Country Club to put herself in contention while Kirk of Australia, who won the inaugural tournament last year at 22-under, had 10 birdies in a course-record-tying 62.

“I played a good round,” said Uehara, one of seven players tied for fifth place.

“Being able to create opportunities on par-3 holes is a good sign. My short putts sank exactly the way I had imagined in my mind.”

South Korea’s Kim Sei-young is in second place alone after a 63 that included six birdies in a row on the back nine. Brittany Marchand of Canada and Megan Khang of the United States share third place at 8-under 64.

Sakura Yokomine fired a first-round 68 and Nasa Hataoka, coming off a runner-up finish at the Women’s PGA Championship a week after her first tour victory at the NW Arkansas Championship, shot a 69.

“My shots were looking good and I had many chances early on but I couldn’t sink clutch putts. It was a round that required patience. I had to make more shots (in order to climb the leaderboard),” Hataoka said.

Harukyo Nomura struggled with a bogey-filled 74.

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