(Reuters) - Shanshan Feng picked the brain of a wily veteran en route to grabbing the clubhouse lead at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the first major of the women’s golf season, on Thursday.
Feng, China’s first winner on the LPGA Tour, carded seven birdies and one bogey for a six-under 66 to head teenage amateur Angel Yin by two strokes with half the field in the clubhouse at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California.
Feng played her opening round with three-time Kraft Nabisco Championship winner Amy Alcott and was not afraid to ask the 58-year-old for advice on how to navigate the course.
“After my first drive, I was asking her (for) the secrets about winning here,” said the 24-year-old from Guangzhou.
”Before this year, I never did well here, so she was telling me the secrets (but) don’t ask me what the secrets are, because they are secrets.
“I will tell you maybe after we finish Sunday but I did learn a lot from her. I was really focusing on my game but at the same time watching how she deals with the tough shots.”
Feng has three LPGA Tour victories, including a major title, the 2012 LPGA Championship.
Yin, meanwhile, opened her round with a par at the 10th but then went on a bogey-birdie-bogey-birdie run over the next four holes before settling down and picking up four more birdies.
The 15-year-old Californian, playing on an invitation after making the cut last year, said good putting had been the key to her low score.
“I was staying calm and making my stroke. I really like the greens here, so my putting is better than any other course I play,” she said.
Yin, however, joked that she would not be so calm if she had a chance to meet her idol, Michelle Wie, who had a later tee time.
“If she said hi to me, I’d probably run.”
Defending champion Park Inbee of South Korea mixed three bogeys with birdie for a two-over 74.
Reporting By Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Frank Pingue