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Kim leads but Ochoa, Wie struggle in Phoenix

SOUTH Korea's Kim In-kyung shot a four-under 68 to take the first-round lead at the J. Golf Phoenix LPGA International on Thursday, while two-time defending champion Lorena Ochoa and Michelle Wie struggled in windy conditions.

Kim had a one-stroke lead over countrywomen Shin Jiyai, Park Imbee and Ji Eun-hee and American Cristie Kerr, who eagled the final hole, and Norway's Suzann Pettersen, who finished with a birdie.

The wind gusts were measured as high as 60 kilometers per hour at Papago, the recently renovated, difficult public course in its first year as the tournament site after five seasons at Superstition Mountain, in Phoenix, Arizona.

"On the back nine, it was quite windy," Kim said. "It was on and off, so it was a little difficult to adjust the yardage. It was tougher on and around the greens because it was so dry out there. There was not much spin around the greens."

Ochoa, showing anger at times over her disappointments, opened with a 72.

Wie, the 19-year-old Stanford University student from Hawaii still seeking her first tour victory, shot a 73 in her first tournament since the LPGA season-opener.

Pat Hurst, the Mastercard Classic winner last week in Mexico, had a 76.

Kim had five birdies and an eagle.

"I three-putted at No. 3, but other than that, it was a solid round," Kim said.

Darkness prevented nine players from finishing the round, but none of those players was close to the leader.


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