SANYA (AFP) - Jessica Korda of the US fired a six-under 66 in the first round of golf's LPGA Blue Bay Championship in China on Thursday, edging ahead of a chasing pack including compatriot Michelle Wie.
Korda got off to a flying start with birdies on her first three holes, and provided a masterclass in long-range putting which culminated in a 65-foot par putt to stay at five under on the 10th hole.
"It was really nice. I was hitting the ball pretty good and then I made some long putts, as well, off the green," said the 21-year-old.
"Highlight was No. 10. Hit my drive way out right. Didn't hit in the fairway."
Wie, the US Women's Open Champion, made five birdies in total to finish the day on 67.
Korda and Wie both went round without a bogey.
Four-time LPGA Tour winner Wie was relieved when she sank an eight-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole that circled three quarters of the hole before dropping.
"It always feels good when the ball kind of circles the hole 360 and ends up going in. It was a fun round today," said the world No. 6.
Feng Shanshan, who won the Sime Darby LPGA in Malaysia earlier this month, joined Wie in second place after the Chinese world No. 5 matched her five birdies, no bogeys statistics.
Also in joint second place were England's Jodi Ewart Shadoff, Brittany Lang of the US, German Caroline Masson and Lee-Anne Pace of South Africa.
The top-ranked player at the tournament, New Zealand's world No. 3 Lydia Ko, finished on 69.
The US$2 million (S$2.55 million) tournament at the Jian Lake club in Sanya on the southern island of Hainan concludes on Sunday.