IBARAKI, Japan (AP) — Defending champion Shanshan Feng fired a 6-under 66 on Friday to share a seven-way lead after the first round of the LPGA Tour’s Japan Classic.
Feng carded six birdies in a bogey-free round at the Taiheiyo Club and was joined at 6 under by Americans Lizette Salas and Jane Park, Japanese players Saiki Fujita, Ai Suzuki and Nasa Hataoka, and Lee Ming-yong of South Korea.
Feng was only 1-under through 11 holes, but made five birdies in her last seven holes to climb into a tie for the lead. She is aiming to become the first golfer on the LPGA Tour to defend a title in 2017.
“I did start the day slowly, just like usual, and then I got my first birdie on the eighth hole finally,” Feng said. “After that I was like ‘that’s just the first of many,’ and then my ball striking was very good on the back nine,”
Anna Nordqvist was a further stroke back at 5 under, tied for eighth with South Koreans Sei Young Kim and Chae Young Yoon.
Lexi Thompson offset three bogeys with seven birdies for a 68 and was tied for 11th in a group of 13 players including No. 1-ranked So Yeon Ryu, Lydia Ko and…