POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Jul 22, 2011
EVIAN-LES-BAINS, France » Former British Open champion Karen Stupples of England shot a 5-under 67 for a share of the first-round lead with Sweden's Maria Hjorth and South Korea's Ahn Shin-ae at the Evian Masters on Thursday.
Stupples, who won her only major in 2004, recovered well from a double bogey on the ninth hole to make six birdies for a 30 on the back nine as heavy rain soaked the course at regular intervals during the day.
"Obviously the weather was pretty grim to start with. It's been a while since I've played in conditions like that," the 38-year-old Stupples said. "After I made that double bogey on nine, it was almost like the kick I needed to get going."
Cristie Kerr, the 2007 U.S. Open champion, had a consistent day with six birdies and only two bogeys for a 68, tied with 2009 champion Ai Miyazato of Japan.
Defending champion Jiyai Shin of South Korea shot a 69, including three birdies in the first four holes, before bogeys on No. 6 and 8 slowed her down. The 23-year-old Shin is still looking for her first title of the year.
Stupples used the pace of the slick, rain-soaked greens to her advantage to shoot a brilliant 30 on the back nine, after going out in 37, where she had a bogey on the sixth hole.
Punahou's Michelle Wie struggled with a double bogey, three bogeys, and only one birdie in a 4-over round of 76.
Wie first played at the event in 2004 as an invited 14-year-old amateur, and she tied for second the following year behind winner Paula Creamer — who ended the day with a 2-under 70.
American Kris Blanks shot a 3-under 67 to take a one-stroke lead after the first-round at the Canadian Open in Vancouver, B.C.
Matt McQuillan was the best of 17 Canadians with a 2-under 68, putting the 30-year-old PGA Tour rookie in a tie with 11 players, including Ernie Els.
Swedish amateur Robert Karlsson shot a 5-under 67 Thursday to share the lead with countryman Alexander Noren and Jaco Van Zyl of South Africa after the first round of the Nordea Masters in Stockholm.