comscore Phatlum on top in Portland; Wie 3 back | Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Phatlum on top in Portland; Wie 3 back

    Michelle Wie opened the Safeway Classic in Portland with a 67 Thursday, leaving her three strokes back of Pornanong Phatlum.

PORTLAND, Ore. >> Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum shot an 8-under 64 on Thursday to take a one-stroke lead over Lexi Thompson after the first round of the Safeway Classic.

The 23-year-old Phatlum, winless in five seasons on the LPGA Tour, had 10 birdies and two bogeys in her afternoon round at rain-softened Columbia Edgewater. The start of play was delayed an hour, and players were allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls because of the wet conditions.

"Putting was so good," said Phatlum, the winner of the unofficial LPGA Brazil Cup in 2012. "I changed putter for this week and feeling very good. And I made many birdies today, like 10 birdies today. … I just try my best and I’m feeling very good with the course. I like the course, very nice."

The 18-year-old Thompson eagled the par-5 seventh hole — her 16th hole of the day — and had five birdies in her bogey-free morning round. She won the 2011 Navistar LPGA Classic for her lone tour title.

Cristie Kerr, the winner in 2008, the last time the event was played at Columbia Edgewater, was at 66 along with Lizette Salas and Germany’s Sandra Gal.

Second-ranked Stacy Lewis, returning to play after withdrawing from the Canadian Women’s Open last week because of illness, opened with a 67. She won the Women’s British Open on Aug. 4 at St. Andrews and had consecutive early-season victories in Singapore and Phoenix.

Hall of Famers Juli Inkster and Se Ri Pak also were in the large group at 67 that included Hawaii’s Michelle Wie, Yani Tseng and Ai Miyazato. The 53-year-old Inkster won the last of her 31 tour titles in 2006.

"Just iron play was good," Wie said. "Just put in a lot of close shots. Didn’t really take advantage of par 5s, which I kind of want to tomorrow. It was a good day. It was consistent."

Natalie Gulbis had a hole-in-one on the second hole and finished with a 68. She used a 6-iron on the 166-yard hole, with the ball bouncing once and falling in. She has seven aces in competition and 14 overall.

Suzann Pettersen, the 2011 winner, also shot 68.

Defending champion Mika Miyazato opened with a 71.

Top-ranked Inbee Park withdrew Tuesday because of flu-like symptoms. Paula Creamer pulled out Thursday morning, citing personal reasons.

McCarron opens hot in Indiana

FORT WAYNE, Ind. >> Scott McCarron took the first-round lead in the Hotel Fitness Championship, the opening event in the new four-tournament Tour Finals series.

The 48-year-old McCarron, a three-time winner on the PGA Tour, had eight birdies, an eagle and two bogeys for an 8-under 64 at Sycamore Hills. He’s in the field on a special medical exemption because of a thumb injury after finishing 250th in the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup standings.

Bud Cauley, Jason Gore, Troy Matteson and Scott Harrington were a stroke back, and Arron Oberholser and Jeff Klauk shot 66. Former Masters champion Trevor Immelman opened with a 67.

Kofstad rides birdie run to Wales lead

NEWPORT, Wales >> Norway’s Espen Kofstad closed with three straight birdies and an eagle for a 7-under 64 and a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Wales Open.

England’s Chris Wood and Australia’s Richard Green shot 66 on Celtic Manor’s Twenty Ten Course, the site of Europe’s victory in the 2010 Ryder Cup.

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