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Stanford, Wie and Kung tied for 1st round lead in Guadalajara
November 08, 2012

Candie Kung -6, Rolex Rankings No. 62
Michelle Wie -6, Rolex Rankings No. 52
Angela Stanford -6, Rolex Rankings No. 19

Angela Stanford, Michelle Wie, and Candie Kung shot 6-under 66s to take the first-round lead at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational Presented by Banamex and Jalisco.

Both Stanford, the 2008 Lorena Ochoa Invitational Champion, and Candie Kung carded one bogey and seven birdies on Thursday while 2010 Lorena Ochoa Invitational Champion Michelle Wie played flawless golf with six birdies and no bogeys.

The trio of players head into tomorrow’s second round with a one-stroke lead over a star-studded group of players including Stacy Lewis, Inbee Park, Cristie Kerr, So Yeon Ryu, and Karine Icher.

There is no denying Michelle Wie has had her fair share of ups-and-downs on this season’s LPGA Tour but as the Stanford University graduate comes back to the site of her first LPGA victory, it looks as if she has returned to her old form.

Wie opened the day with back-to-back birdies but caught fire rallying off four consecutive birdies beginning at the par-5 10th to jumpstart her round.

“You have to be on the right position on the fairway, on the right position on the green, get above the hole a couple times and getting in your putts,” said Wie. “So for the next couple of days I just need to put them in the right position, keep doing that and well just position golf.”

The 6-under par 66 first-round on Thursday marks only the eighth round in the 60’s Wie has shot this year and ties a season low which she also shot during the second round of the U.S. Women’s Open. While Wie’s positive memories she has from her 2010 victory are a bonus, the third year LPGA Tour member also credits the infamous guacamole for her hot start.

“It’s been a really difficult year,” said Wie. “It’s been the hardest year I’ve had so far, but I think the guacamole is helping this week, and I think that might be the changing point, so I’m going to keep eating it and hopefully it will help.”

This week’s Lorena Ochoa Invitational Presented by Banamex and Jalisco marks the fifth consecutive week of tournaments for first-round co-leader Candie Kung. Kung arrived in Guadalajara, Meixco late Monday night after last week’s Mizuno Classic in Japan.

“It’s my fifth and next week is going to be sixth,” said Kung. “I was pretty tired, I got here on Monday, midnight and actually slept all the way through Tuesday and yesterday I slept pretty good too. I went to bed at 7 and I actually feel really good today. I feel like a new person after the last 4 weeks.”

While Kung, who is looking to notch her first win since the 2008 Hana Bank-KOLON Championship, admits to being sleep deprived, she is still enjoying her time this week in Mexico.

“It is awesome to come here every year, I‘ve been here ever since the first one,” said Kung. “So this will be the fifth year here so I feel welcomed every time we‘re here. Love the people here. Everybody is really friendly. I don’t know much about Spanish but I know a few words and I love the tequila and the margaritas here.”

Kung has played in the Lorena Ochoa Invitational Presented by Banamex and Jalisco since its inaugural year in 2008 and has finished no better than T18 which makes Thursday’s first round a bit of a surprise for the four-time LPGA Tour winner.

“No, I did not expect this at all,” said Kung of her first-round 66. “I’ve been here like I said this is my fifth year and I haven’t done well at all, last four so I just kind of go out there and play my way around and I happened to have 7 birdies.”

As this year’s Rolex Player of the Race is coming down to the wire at the last two remaining events on this year’s LPGA Tour schedule, Stacy Lewis and Inbee Park found themselves paired together in Thursday’s first round of the Lorena Ochoa Invitational Presented by Banamex and Jalisco.

“We actually haven’t played together this year,” said Lewis. “It was fun to play together when we are both playing really well, she has won and finished second so she’s playing well too.”

Lewis currently holds a seemingly comfortable 58 point lead over Park forcing Park to win both events and Lewis finish no better than T9 in one event or T10 in both.

While Park has her work cut out for her at the final two events, the three-time LPGA winner isn’t going down without a fight as she fired a first-round 5-under 67 and sits one-stroke off the lead. Don’t count Lewis out however as she matched Park’s 5-under opening round.

It was a fun day to kind of see how our games stack up,” said Lewis. “Obviously by the scores, our games are pretty close.”

Walking from the 18th green to the practice area there can be a swarm of people seen surrounding Angela Stanford. Whether they are asking her for her gloves or hats or simply her autograph, the Texan seems to always be a fan favorite in Mexico.

“Well, you know everybody is so nice here and I think it’s just because maybe that was it winning the first one, that was it,” said Stanford. “I enjoy being here and maybe all the fans sense that and it´s nice to have people cheering for you.”

Stanford became the first winner of the Lorena Ochoa Invitational Presented by Banamex and Jalisco in its inaugural year in 2008. A five-time winner on the LPGA, Stanford won the HSBC Women’s 2012 earlier in the year but her goal is to become a multiple time winner.

“Well, it would mean quite a bit,” said Stanford. “I think any time you can win multiple times in a year that’s a pretty good year so that and the opportunity to when here again would be pretty cool because like I said I love playing here.”

Tournament hostess and 27-time LPGA Tour champion Lorena Ochoa opened with a first-round 1-under par 71 and currently sits T16…Coming off a fourth place finish at the Mizuno Classic, Rolex Rankings No. 1 currently sits T13 after a 3-under 69.

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