MEXICO CITY • Michelle Wie, back at the tournament where she posted her first professional victory, continued to re-emerge from a slump with a good opening round at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Mexico City.
The American golfer birdied three of the first seven holes en route to a two-under 70, ending the day three shots behind leaders Carlota Ciganda of Spain and Australian Sarah Jane Smith at the Club de Golf Mexico.
The 27-year-old had been mired in an awful slump for the best part of two years until she tied for 10th at the Blue Bay LPGA in China three weeks ago.
Plagued by multiple injuries and a subsequent loss of confidence, her form spiralled until her visit to China, where she finally produced a performance she credited to being healthy again and to practice.
Wie broke her LPGA duck seven years ago at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational, albeit at a different venue from this week's event, a success that was expected to open the floodgates.
As a 14-year-old, she had gone within a shot of making the cut against the men on the PGA Tour at the 2004 Sony Open, becoming the most famous female player in the game and attracting comparisons with Tiger Woods.
But, whereas Woods lived up to his hype, Wie's story was a reminder that there are few guarantees in sport.
After her 2009 breakthrough success, she did not win again until the 2010 Canadian Women's Open, and it was four more years before she notched two more victories in 2014, including the US Women's Open.
Ciganda had three of her five birdies in the last six holes as she and Smith took a two-stroke lead over France's Karine Icher, South Korea's Chella Choi and Mexican amateur Maria Fassi.
"I really like this course, I played good last year so it is great to be back," Ciganda said. "I played pretty solid today, no bogeys, five birdies. I hit it pretty close and I am just looking forward to keeping it going."
Smith had two bogeys and seven birdies, including a birdie at the 18th.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE