ST ANDREWS • Michelle Wie fired a course-record 64 at Kingsbarns to take a one-shot lead after the first round of the Women's British Open on Thursday.
The 27-year-old American struck lucky with her tee time and made the most of the early, benign conditions to lead South Korea's Kim In Kyung atop the leaderboard on eight under.
Wie overcame a shaky start after bogeying the par-five second, making gains on the fourth, sixth and eighth to turn in two under, before scorching the back nine with six more birdies to beat the 65 set by China's Lin Xiyu in 2013.
"That start got me a bit annoyed for a while but it was fun out there," the Honolulu-born Wie said.
"Any time you shoot a 64 on a course like Kingsbarns, you've got to be happy. I'm really proud of myself for taking advantage of the conditions this morning."
South Korea's Chella Choi, Britons Jodi Ewart Shadoff and Mel Reid, Dutchwoman Anne van Dam, and Americans Marissa Steen and Lexi Thompson were tied in fourth place on the packed leaderboard at five under.
For the afternoon starters, horrendous rainstorms forced a couple of delays.
Birdies: Wie bogeyed the par-five second, making gains on the fourth, sixth and eighth to turn in two under, before six more birdies.
But the intermittent downpour did not stop British favourite Laura Davies from rolling back the years.
A British Open winner in 1986, 15 years before it became a Major, the 53-year-old birdied the 18th hole for a 68.
A teenage phenomenon, Wie has had a rollercoaster ride on the LPGA Tour. She won the 2014 US Women's Open, but a catalogue of ailments have blighted her progress.
"I've had a lot of injuries the last two years, and I was starting to take things too seriously," she added.
"But I've got to remember that golf is only a game. I'm lucky to be playing it for a living, so I want to enjoy it."
Asked if she was fully fit, she retorted: "I'm not going to answer that. I've said I'm fine in the past and then something has happened."
Wie's best result in the British Open was a tie for third on her debut as a 15-year-old at Royal Birkdale in 2005.
But the nine-birdie round raised her hopes of collecting a second Major title. She has stashed a few new clubs in her bag in recent weeks, with nine and 11 woods replacing her mid-irons.
"It's a sign I'm getting old," she joked.
Defending champion Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand and world No. 1 Ryu So Yeon of South Korea were playing together and both shot one-under rounds of 71.
World No. 2 Thompson was the third member of that marquee group and the best-placed after her 67.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
WOMEN'S BRITISH OPEN DAY 3
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