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Lorena Ochoa amongst four first round leaders

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 on a hot, windy day at the HSBC Women's 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.

Ochoa sank four birdies over her first 11 holes, and though bogeys at the 12th and 14th threatened to spoil her round, she finished strongly by picking up shots at the 16th and 17th.

"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 LPGA Tour's season-opening Honda PTT LPGA Thailand, was a stroke back along with Sophie Gustafson, Christina Kim and Song-Hee Kim.

Juli Inkster, Karrie Webb and Suzann Pettersen shot 70s, while 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."

Stanford produced a bogey-free effort, while Kerr to off to a rough start with bogeys on the first and third, But she finished with birdies on five of the last six holes.

Park, meanwhile, collected seven birdies, but three bogeys took the gloss off what could have been a superb opening round.



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