Golf: Unheralded Spaniard seizes first-round lead at HSBC Women's Champions

RELATIVE unknown Azahara Munoz holds the first-round lead at the HSBC Women's Champions.

The Spanish golfer fired a brilliant seven-under 65 and is two strokes ahead of a five-strong chasing pack which includes American world No. 4 Stacy Lewis.

"I hit a lot of really good second shots so I gave myself a lot of opportunities, and obviously I converted most of them," said the 25-year-old Munoz, who is ranked 16th in the world and has one LPGA Tour title to her name.

Lewis, 28, a five-time LPGA Tour winner, was pleased to stay within touching distance at the top. She said: "My putter just kind of went cold on me but other than that, I played fine. It's all about staying patient and giving yourself a chance on Sunday."

World No. 1 Tseng Ya-ni of Taiwan recovered from a slow start to card a 68, putting her in tied-seventh spot.

Singapore's Christabel Goh, however, struggled on Sentosa Golf Club's Serapong course, shooting an 80 that leaves her in last place among the 62-strong field.

The 23-year-old Florida resident said: "The heat was really getting to me. I had trouble getting into the groove, getting some momentum going. I also had trouble breathing, but now it's all good."

The US$1.4 million (S$1.74 million) event continues from Friday to Sunday.