Golf roundup: Three share Nabisco lead

Na Yeon Choi, who shares the Kraft Nabisco lead at 4 under, likes the look of her tee shot on the 11th hole.
danny moloshok/reuters
Na Yeon Choi, who shares the Kraft Nabisco lead at 4 under, likes the look of her tee shot on the 11th hole.

Playing partners Suzann Pettersen and Na Yeon Choi took advantage of perfect morning conditions Thursday to share the first-round lead with Jodi Ewart Shadoff in the Kraft Nabisco Championship at Rancho Mirage, Calif.

Finishing before the temperature climbed into the low 90s in the Coachella Valley, Pettersen and Choi had bogey-free rounds of 4-under-par 68 at Mission Hills. Ewart Shadoff matched them late in the afternoon with the wind picking up at the first major championship of the year.

‘‘The course is perfect,’’ Pettersen said. ‘‘Greens are rolling pure. If you miss the fairways, you can be in a bit of trouble. The rough is deep. I missed one or two. You really just have to try and advance it somehow up to the greens if you can get that far.’’


Pettersen birdied the final three holes on her front nine and got to 4 under with a birdie on the par-4 seventh, her 16th hole. The Norwegian, a 10-time LPGA Tour winner ranked eighth in the world, had consecutive victories late last season in South Korea and Taiwan and won a European tour event last month in China.

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‘‘Today was everything I could ask for in the opening round,’’ Pettersen said. ‘‘Just feeling really good all week, and it’s just about kind of trusting what you have, and I couldn’t ask for a better start. Bogey free, gave myself a lot of chances, feeling good with my game.’’

The third-ranked Choi fed off the pairing with Pettersen.

‘‘I think I played well because she played well, too,’’ said Choi, the South Korean who won the US Women’s Open and the Titleholders last year. ‘‘We motivated each other.’’

Choi made a 30-foot birdie putt on the par-3 14th, matched Pettersen’s birdies on Nos. 16 and 17 and grabbed a share of the lead with a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-5 ninth.


‘‘She’s a strong competitor, but I tried to chase her until the last hole,’’ Choi said.

Ewart Shadoff, playing in the last group of the day off the first tee, made four straight birdies — the last with a 20-foot putt on the No. 14 — to take the lead at 5 under. She missed a 4-foot par putt on the par-4 16th to drop back and scrambled to save par on the par-5 18th after her drive found the deep right rough.

Anna Nordqvist and Amy Yang were a stroke back at 69.

Top-ranked Stacy Lewis had a 73. She made a triple-bogey 6 on the 14, three-putting after her tee shot trickled into the water.

Michelle Wie and 15-year-old amateur Lydia Ko each shot 72 in their morning pairing.


‘‘It was fun,’’ Ko said. ‘‘She’s my idol, so I was very excited.’’

Yani Tseng, playing for the first time since losing the No. 1 ranking to Lewis in Phoenix, also opened with a 72. The 2010 winner at Mission Hills, Tseng was booted out of the Kia Classic two weeks ago when she overslept and missed her pro-am tee time.

PGA — Matt Bettencourt and Peter Tomasulo shot 5-under 67s to earn the surprising lead after the first round of the Texas Open, holding off a tough field that includes world No. 2 Rory McIlroy.

Bettencourt made the tournament as an alternate. He needed only 25 putts, joining Tomasulo in holding off a group of four players — including three-time major winner Padraig Harrington — at 4 under.

Harrington and Billy Horschel shared the lead following the morning tee times, battling chilly and windy conditions in San Antonio. They were joined by Bryce Molder and Harris English at 4 under in the afternoon.

McIlroy, who entered the tournament as a final opportunity to prep for next week’s Masters, opened with an even-par 72 and is tied for 45th.