Sweden's Anna Nordqvist fired a sizzling six-under 66 to take the first-round lead at the $1.5 million Honda LPGA Thailand tournament at the Siam Country Club in Pattaya on Thursday, AFP reported. Nordqvist, who admitted she was ready to quit golf last season after a run of disappointing form, returned to the clubhouse with a one-shot advantage over American Michelle Wie.
A trio of Wie's compatriots - Lexi Thompson, Angela Stanford, and Jennifer Johnson - was a further stroke back on 68 each. Stanford's round included a hole-in-one at the eighth.
In joint sixth place were world number two Suzann Pettersen of Norway, Korea's Ryu So-yeon, Sandra Gal of Germany and Sweden's Caroline Hedwall, who all shot 69s. World number one and defending champion Park In-bee, whose tenure at the top is under threat in Thailand, had to settle for a 71 overnight and was joined by last week's LPGA winner Karrie Webb of Australia and American Stacy Lewis.
Nordqvist sank an eagle and six birdies, marred by two bogeys, in a round she later described as "quite an adventure". She began brilliantly with three straight birdies and was already five-under when she was pegged back by successive bogeys at the 13th and 14th. But at the par-four 15 she landed her second shot five feet from the pin and the ball spun back into the hole for a memorable eagle.
"The eagle certainly helped restore my momentum after the bogeys," she said.
The Swede, ranked 27th in the world, admitted she was so disappointed with her form last season she almost threw in the towel.
"I lacked motivation and was ready to quit altogether," she said.
But she has worked hard during the winter break and it seems to have paid off.
"Thanks to a lot of help from my team I have got my motivation back and they have given me inspiration."