SINGAPORE (AP) — Jennifer Song shot an opening 7-under 65 to take a two-stroke lead at the Women’s World Championship on Thursday.
The 28-year-old American reeled off seven birdies at the Sentosa Golf Club in a round that was interrupted for two hours by lightning.
Michelle Wie and Ji Eun-Hee (both 67) were tied for second while another nine players finished a further stroke back at 4 under.
Top-ranked Shanshan Feng (70) bogeyed the last hole, while No. 2 Lexi Thompson (75) struggled in making five bogeys.
Still chasing her first LPGA win eight years after turning professional, Song took the outright lead when she made five birdies in an eight-hole stretch.
“At times it has been a great struggle because I know I can win out here, but I just never have been given that chance yet,” Song said. “But I kept believing that someday it will happen. I think that’s the reason why myself and other golfers are still grinding because we believe that we can win out here.”
Wie has not won since she captured her first major at the 2014 Women’s U.S. Open. She led in Singapore last year after the first and third rounds.
“I made a lot of birdies from the trees today, so that’s a plus,” Wie said.
Wie looked to be in discomfort in her final few holes, shaking her left wrist, which was already heavily bandaged, but said it was nothing unusual for her.
“It looks a lot worse than it actually is. It’s really not that bad,” she said. “My wrist, I just have arthritis and I just try to work through that. You know, it’s been a little bit of a struggle but I’ve got a good game plan going, more preventative more than anything. But it just looked a lot worse than it actually is.”
Ji also bogeyed her last hole but managed to stay clear of a chasing pack of nine players at 68 — Brooke Henderson, Ariya Jutanugarn, Danielle Kang, Chun In Gee, Jessica Korda, Madelene Sagstrom, Chella Choi, Su Oh and Park Sung Hyun.
Korda, who won in Thailand last week, spoiled her round with a double-bogey 5 on the seventh while Kang managed to post a bogey-free round despite a freak accident that broke her tooth before she teed off.
“I was stretching out on the floor and next thing I know, I slept 30 minutes,” Kang said. “I broke a tooth. Call the dentist on range. It’s all good.”