Women's British Open: Ayako Uehara leads after first round at Royal Birkdale
Last Updated: 10/07/14 9:07pm
Ayako Uehara: During the first round of the Ricoh Women's British Open at Royal Birkdale
Japan's Ayako Uehara mastered the windy conditions at Royal Birkdale to lead after the opening round of the Ricoh Women's British Open on Thursday.
Uehara recovered from a bogey on her first hole to fire five birdies in an opening four-under-par 68, finishing one shot ahead of American Mo Martin.
Martin birdied three of the last five holes to return a 69, with compatriots Mina Harigae and Morgan Pressel and Australian Sarah Kemp another shot back on two under.
World No 1 and defending champion Stacy Lewis returned a 71 in some calm conditions, but said that Birkdale will be presenting a huge challenge during the next three days.
"It's only going to get harder," said Lewis. "Anything under par on this golf course is a good score."
"Ayako obviously put up a really good number. She seems like she wasn't in trouble at all. She was just greens, greens, centre of the green. You can kind of learn a little bit from that and maybe not go at so many pins.
"The golf course is so hard, I couldn't imagine four days of this much rough and all the wind and everything it entails. It's nice to have it pretty calm today."
That 71 was matched by England's Holly Clyburn as only nine players broke par and more than a dozen took more than 80. Scotland's Kylie Walker birdied the last for an 82 which started with a quintuple bogey nine on the first.
US Women's Open champion Michelle Wie could only manage a three-over-par 75 featuring five bogeys and two birdies.
Wie had trouble finding fairways and needed a birdie on the 18th just to finish with a 75, as she recorded her highest score of the year so far.
"I definitely felt like my tempo was a little bit off," Wie said. "Thought I made a good game plan, I just didn't hit good shots today but it's a long way until Sunday, and I battled out there.
“It's not the score I was looking forward to on Thursday, but it could have been a lot worse."
Solheim Cup star Charley Hull returned a 73 while 50-year-old Laura Davies finished double bogey, bogey, birdie in a 75.