Suzann Pettersen claims early lead at World Ladies Championship
Suzann Pettersen made an fine start to her defence of the World Ladies Championship as she claimed a one-shot lead.
Last Updated: 06/03/14 5:54pm
The world No 2 defied swealtering conditions at Mission Hills in China to card a six-under 67 that earned her a one-shot lead over Ye Na Chung and teenage amateur Minjee Lee.
Pettersen started with a birdie at the 10th and picked up further shots at 12 and 18 before firing a superb second shot to 10 feet at the long second and converting the putt for eagle.
The Norwegian gave a shot back at the next but responded with further birdies at the fifth and sixth, where she missed another eagle opportunity from inside six feet.
"I played a lot of good golf and felt like I had a lot of great chances," she said. "I feel like you've really got to take advantage of the par fives out here.
"You only have some mid irons into some of them and I had one eagle, should have had two. I missed a very short eagle putt on six, so overall it was a pretty solid start."
Australian Lee, the world's top-ranked amateur, continued the form that landed her the Victorian Open title last month as she opened with an encouraging 68.
The 17-year-old carded seven birdies against a pair of dropped shots to earn a share of second with Chung, while world No 1 Inbee Park is a further shot adrift alongside Trish Johnson, Gwladys Nocera and Valentine Derrey.
The English veteran got off to a flyer as she birdied the first two holes, and she picked up further strokes at seven and 12 before parring in to cap a bogey-free 69.
Johnson's compatriot Eleanor Givens was one of four players sharing 10th place on two under, but 2012 champion and home favourite Shanshan Feng has plenty of ground to make up after returning an erratic one-over 74.
In the team competition, the French pairing of Nocera and Derrey claimed a one-shot lead over South Korea's Park and So Yeon Ryu (70), who are both ranked in the world's top five.