(Reuters) - France’s Karine Icher upstaged big names Lydia Ko and Stacy Lewis to storm to a two-shot lead after the opening round of the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in Vancouver on Thursday.
Icher, a runner up to Ko in 2013 at the event, took apart Vancouver Golf Club with a bogey-free seven-under-65.
A five-time winner on the Ladies European Tour, but not since 2005, the 36-year-old burst out of a funk to take charge and build a two-shot lead from New Zealand’s world number two Ko.
Icher has yet to post a single top-10 result on the LPGA Tour this season but had seven birdies in a blistering first 11 holes before parring home.
Ko’s five-under-65 was the best score of the morning’s play to take second place alone while American former world number one Stacy Lewis was joined by Korean I.K. Kim, Swede Pernilla Lindberg and American Danah Bordner in a tie for third place at four under.
Ko, who won at Vancouver Golf Club as a 15-year-old in 2012, started on the back nine and traded two birdies and two bogeys over her first eight holes.
But she managed five birdies from that point on including three in her final four holes.
“Hopefully that will give me good momentum tomorrow,” Ko told reporters.
”But playing in the morning and then afternoon tomorrow there is quite a bit of wait, but I’ve just got to keep the positive attitude going. Hit one shot at a time and just have fun out there.
“It’s great to get into a really good start. But you can see there are some other really good scores and everybody’s playing their best. It’s going to be tough.”
Canadian teenager Brooke Henderson, fresh off her maiden LPGA win, posted a round of 70 to be in the mix at two under and tied for 13th.
A Canadian has not won their national open since Jocelyne Bourassa won the inaugural event in 1973.
“If I can continue to build off the crowd’s energy the next couple of days, I think it will be good,” Henderson said.
Defending champion Ryu So-yeon of South Korea shot a one-under 71.
Reporting by Ben Everill in Los Angeles; Editing by Greg Stutchbury