Japan’s Ayako Uehara mastered the windy conditions at Royal Birkdale to lead after yesterday’s opening round of the Ricoh Women’s British Open.
Uehara recovered from a bogey on her first hole to fire five birdies in an opening four-under-par 68, finishing one shot ahead of American Mo Martin.
Martin birdied three of the last five holes to return a 69, with compatriots Mina Harigae and Morgan Pressel and Australian Sarah Kemp another shot back on two under.
World No 1 and defending champion Stacy Lewis returned a 71 matched by England’s Holly Clyburn as only nine players broke par and more than a dozen took more than 80.
Clyburn had teed off at 6.30am and ended the day placed as the best of the home contingent on one-under-par, alongside South Koreans So Yeon Ryu and Amy Yang and Lewis.
“I gave myself a lot of opportunities and a lot of just shaving the hole, and after how I’ve putted the past few weeks, I’m very happy,” said Clyburn.
Scotland’s Kylie Walker birdied the last for an 82 which started with a quintuple bogey nine on the first.
US Women’s Open champion Michelle Wie could only manage a three-over-par 75 featuring five bogeys and two birdies.
“I definitely felt like my tempo was a little bit off,” Wie said. “I just didn’t hit good shots but it’s a long way until Sunday. It could have been a lot worse.”
Solheim Cup star Charley Hull returned a 73, while 50-year-old Laura Davies finished double bogey, bogey, birdie in a 75.