DUBAI, United Arab Emirates » England’s Florentyna Parker shot a 5-under 67 to take a one-shot lead in the opening round of the Dubai Ladies Masters, while a late triple bogey dropped Hawaii’s Michelle Wie down the leaderboard yesterday.
Wie finished with a 71 after the miscue on the eighth hole at the season-ending tournament on the Ladies European Tour.
Maria Verchenova of Russia was second at 68, a shot better than a group of five tied for third that included Marianne Skarpnord of Norway, Julieta Granada of Paraguay, Morgana Robbertze of South Africa, and In-kyung Kim and Bo-mi Suh of South Korea.
The 130th-ranked Parker, who was 11th on the European Tour money list, birdied three of her first four holes and five of the first nine. She had one birdie and a bogey on the back nine.
"I had a great start and was hitting close to the pin and made the putts," Parker said. "I felt really comfortable. You have a few birdies and think you can birdie every hole. It just gives you confidence."
The 10th-ranked Wie, who has been battling a bad back for weeks, was in second for much of the day after making two birdies on her first nine holes and an eagle after the turn. Wie was at 3 under before No. 8, where she hit her drive out of bounds and the next shot into a bunker.
"I was pretty mad. I was like, I can’t believe that just happened," Wie said. "But things happen on the golf course and all you can do is get mad for a little bit and move forward."
She finished with a birdie on her final hole.
In the race for the European money title, neither South African Lee-Anne Pace (73) nor her only challenger, seven-time winner Laura Davies (75), stood out.
Pace, who tops the money list, can become the first South African to win the Order of Merit if she fends off a challenge from Davies, who needs a top-two finish.
Davies is 60th and in danger of missing the cut, which will be the top 50 players.