Miyazato shoots course-record 63 to take LPGA lead

Kelsey Perry, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange


PHOENIX -- Ai Miyazato enjoyed a strong start Thursday on the first day of the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup at the Wildfire Golf Club, but she heated up on the back stretch and broke the course record.
Miyazato was 4 under par heading into the 14th hole before she carded three birdies and an eagle on the next four holes to finish at 9-under 63. She holds a two-stroke lead over Jee Young Lee.
Miyazato finished the day with seven birdies and an eagle to top the old one-day course record, which was at 65. The 27-year-old from Japan was the runner-up in last year's tournament.
Lee had nine birdies and two bogeys Thursday. She's followed closely by Candie Kung, Pornanong Phatlum, Gerina Piller and Brittany Lang, all tied for third place at 6-under 66.
Lexi Thompson, Sandra Gal, Jiyai Shin and Katherine Hull-Kirk each shot 5-under 67 on the first day of the tournament to tie for seventh place.
Stacy Lewis, the 2012 Rolex Player of the Year, finished the first round with a 4-under 68 and is tied for 11th place. Lewis won the HSBC Women's Champions Tournament in Singapore earlier this month.
Defending champion Yani Tseng is tied for 39th place, finishing with a 2-under 70. She captured a one-shot victory at last year's event, edging out Miyazato and Na Yeon Choi. Karrie Webb, who won the event in 2011, also shot 2-under 70.
Juli Inkster, a 52-year-old World Golf Hall of Famer, had seven birdies and three bogeys on her way to a 4-under 68.
The event features a field of 132 golfers competing for a $1.5 million purse. The 72-hole tournament concludes Sunday.
NOTES: Michelle Wie shot a 2-over 74. She bogeyed four holes and birdied two. She is tied for 110th place. ... Natalie Gulbis was forced to withdraw from the event after she contracted malaria on one of the Tour's opening stops in Asia. Gulbis also withdrew from the HSBC Women's Champions Tournament in Singapore after the second round due to the illness. ... Jennifer Gleason had a hole-in-one on the par-3 14th from 171 yards out with a 5-hybrid. She finished the day tied for 11th place after a 68. ... Meena Lee aced the 6th hole from 170 yards out. She shot a 76. ... Thompson, an 18-year-old Florida native, was featured this week in the magazine Teen Vogue. She said it was an honor to be considered a role model for young golfers and young women alike. "Without fans, these tournaments wouldn't be going on, and it'd be pretty boring if nobody was out there watching us, so it means a lot to me, and I'll sign every autograph no matter what I shoot," she said.