Ochoa takes early lead

A week off did nothing to slow Lorena Ochoa down, and a month away from the game found Lindsey Wright in the same groove she was in before a vacation.

Lorena Ochoa

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — A week off did nothing to slow Lorena Ochoa down, and a month away from the game found Lindsey Wright in the same groove she was in before a vacation.

Ochoa picked up where she left off in winning two weeks ago in her native Mexico with eight birdies against one bogey Thursday. Her 7-under 64 gave her a one-shot lead over Wright after the first round of the Michelob Ultra Open.

“This is only the start,” said Ochoa, a three-time runner-up in the event. “We have three more days. One at a time.”

Wright, a non-winner in five seasons, hadn’t played since finishing fourth in the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the season’s first major in the first week in April, but was bogey-free on the soggy 6,315-yard River Course at Kingsmill that has received rain for several days.

Hee-Won Han, Sarah Lee and Minea Blomqvist shot 66s to share third place, Seon Hwa Lee, Na Yeon Choi and Amy Yang had 67s and 2007 champion Suzann Pettersen was among seven at 68.

In all, 45 of 144 players took advantage of the soft greens and broke par.

Other notables making a run at the leaderboard included 2005 winner Cristie Kerr, who got to 4 under but then stumbled to finish at 2 under; rookie Vicky Hurst, who got to 4 under but gave two shots back on her last four holes; and another rookie, Michelle Wie, who got to 3 under after her first 12 holes, but had two bogeys coming in to finish six shots back.

Charlottetown’s Lorie Kane is tied for 48th after shooting a an even-par 71, while Hamilton’s Alena Sharp shot a 2-over 73, good for a tie for 85th.

The rainy start and sometimes gusting wind seemed to be of little consequence to Ochoa, the world’s top-ranked player. She made three birdie putts of 17 feet or longer while working on her putting alignment and said she’s starting to feel more comfortable on the greens.

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