IRVING, Texas » Suzann Pettersen was prepared for a much longer break from the LPGA Tour when she started having more back problems.
When she had similar pain a decade ago, she was out of action for about eight months.
But Pettersen missed only a month this time, and the 33-year-old Norwegian is already on top of the leaderboard again after a bogey-free 5-under 66 on Thursday in the first round of the North Texas LPGA Shootout.
"I feel good. I mean very patient. Just really just trying to enjoy being back," Pettersen said. "I got to kind of pace myself a little bit. I can’t do too much early in the week. So I have a lot of spare time to fool around with. … I really can’t go hit balls on the range. I play whatever I need to play and then just try to give my body a little bit of break."
Pettersen had a one-stroke lead over playing partner Cristie Kerr and Michelle Wie, Caroline Masson, Christina Kim, Cydney Clanton and Dori Carter.
Pettersen is playing her second tournament since withdrawing before the Kia Classic in late March, and being told rest was the way to heal her back. The world’s fourth-ranked player tied for 28th in San Francisco last week.
Pettersen took sole possession of the lead when she birdied Nos. 7 and 8, her 16th and 17th holes of the day at Las Colinas Country Club.
Wie is playing with confidence and just trying to have fun, and had her 15th consecutive round of par or better. All have come in a stretch when she was the runner-up in the season’s first major, won at home in Hawaii for his first LPGA Tour victory in nearly four years and then had another top-10 finish last week in San Francisco, not far from alma mater Stanford.
"Definitely, my confidence level is up from last year, ” said Wie, whose five top-10 finishes are already one more than she had in 26 tournaments all last season.
Top-ranked Inbee Park, the defending champion, and Texas native Stacy Lewis, the highest-ranked American at No. 3, both shot 71.
Cabrera leads, Phil one back
CHARLOTTE, N.C. » Phil Mickelson was entertaining to the very end and finished one shot behind Angel Cabrera in the first round of the Wells Fargo Championship.
Cabrera played in early, calmer conditions and thrived on the new Bermuda greens at Quail Hollow. He made seven birdies, including a 40-footer from just off the green, and turned in a 6-under 66 that stood as the lead the rest of the day.
Panuphol bests field with a 63
SINGAPORE » Thailand’s Panuphol Pittayarat had a bogey-free 9-under 63 to take the first-round lead in The Championship at Laguna National.
American David Lipsky was a stroke back along with Scotland’s Scott Jamieson, South Korea’s Kim Byung-jun and Singapore’s Quincy Quek.
The event is sanctioned by the European and Asian tours.