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Ailing Creamer shoots to the top in Singapore

A POORLY Paula Creamer battled the chills and nausea to shoot 5-under par 67 for a share of the first-round lead at the US$2 million HSBC Women's Champions in Singapore yesterday.

American Creamer shares top spot with compatriot Jane Park and Brazil's Angela Park at the LPGA event in the Southeast Asian city state, with South Korea's Lee Seon-hwa and Ai Miyazato of Japan a shot further back at four under.

Defending champion and world No. 1 Lorena Ochoa is two shots off the pace after shooting a 3-under 69.

"I went through several different symptoms today," said Creamer after carding six birdies and a lone bogey at the Tanah Merah Country Club.

"At the beginning I was very sick, very nauseous, and in the middle my body felt terrible - chills and aching. I just toughed it out and tried to make the best of it."

Ochoa, who won last year's tournament by 11 strokes after shooting four rounds under 70, said she was well placed to defend her title.

"Any time you start under par it's always good, and I think tomorrow is going to be a different day," said the Mexican. "I need to be a little bit more aggressive and hopefully I could go a little bit lower."

Play was suspended for about an hour in the afternoon amid dark skies and the threat of lightning but South Korean Lee faced an interruption of a different kind when a four-foot monitor lizard meandered across her line at the last hole.

Lee, who lit up the front nine at five under par, missed a short putt to bogey the hole and fall into a tie for second.

"The front nine was great, I hit it pretty solid every shot, hit really good iron shots... and had a lot of birdie chances," Lee said. "Four under is a good score in the first round, hopefully I'll stay focused."


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