(Reuters) - Australian Minjee Lee and Thai Moriya Jutanugarn took advantage of their morning tee times to share the first-round lead on four-under-par 68 at the LOTTE Championship in Hawaii on Wednesday.
Lee, 19, a former world number one-ranked amateur who won in her rookie LPGA season in 2015, mixed six birdies with two bogeys on the Ko Olina course in Kapolei on the island of Oahu.
Jutanugarn, the 2013 LPGA Rookie of the Year, managed seven birdies, along with a bogey and a double bogey, as the pair coped with challenging morning winds that became even stronger during the afternoon.
Michelle Wie had a morning she would rather forget in her hometown event, struggling to an 80.
“I hit a lot of good shots. Just got a little bit unlucky, a couple of unlucky bounces,” the 2014 champion told reporters. “Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.”
Wie, the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open champion, is coming off an injury-plagued season that left her languishing 49th on the money list.
World number one Lydia Ko, fresh from a major victory at the ANA Inspiration two weeks ago, fared somewhat better with a one-under 71 in the difficult afternoon conditions.
Ko made a nightmare start with a double bogey at the second hole, where she yanked her drive out-of-bounds, but fought back to post a decent score, finishing with a flourish with a birdie at the final hole.
Defending champion Kim Sei-young, who won a playoff in stunning fashion last year by holing an eight-iron from 154 yards, started strongly with a 69.
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Frank Pingue