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Fast Start for Sorenstam

SINGA, Japan -- Annika Sorenstam fired a 9-under 63 on Friday to take the lead after the first round of the Mizuno Classic. Sorenstam, who is trying to win this event for the third straight year, finished two shots clear of Grace Park and Jung Yeon Lee.
Mi Hyun Kim posted a 6-under 66 to finish alone in fourth place. Hee-Won Han, Mikiyo Nishizuka, Woo-Soon Ko, Yuri Fudoh and Se Ri Pak were one shot further back at 5-under-par 67.
Sorenstam jumped out of the gate with a birdie at the par-5 first at Seta Golf Course and dropped a wedge inside 11 feet for a birdie at the par-4 fourth.
At the par-3 fifth, Sorenstam's tee shot stopped six feet from the cup for another birdie and she two-putted for a birdie at the par-5 sixth to keep the streak going.
Sorenstam then knocked her approach to four feet at the par-4 seventh and drained the birdie putt to make it four in a row.
The Swede added a birdie at the par-3 12th and another at the par-4 14th to move to 7-under.
Sorenstam landed a sand wedge within two feet for a tap-in birdie at the 17th and knocked her approach inside seven feet for a birdie at the last to complete a new course record.
'Of course I'm very happy,' said Sorenstam. 'I hit 17 greens and every fairway so I had a lot of birdie opportunities. I'm very, very happy.'
The 34-year-old, who is playing for the first time as a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, is trying to become the first player in the history of the LPGA Tour to win two separate events for three consecutive seasons.
'I have been practicing hard for two weeks and I had one week off,' said Sorenstam. 'I worked out every day, but I've been resting my mind from competition.'
Park, who was the runner-up at this event last year, collected five birdies and a bogey over her first nine holes.
The 24-year-old added three birdies on the inward half for a round of 65.
Lee tallied seven birdies and no bogeys for a 65 of her own.
'I played a practice round on Tuesday and Wednesday and didn't hit that well and I practiced yesterday and focused on alignment,' said Lee. 'I was not comfortable and my practice was not good, and today I was a little nervous but I just tried to focus more on my game and it was good.'
Karrie Webb, Sophie Gustafson, Miho Koga, Rachel Teske, Ji Hee Lee, Laura Diaz and Lorie Kane, who won this event in 2000, finished five shots off the lead in a tie for 11th at 4-under-par 68.
U.S. Women's Open champion Hilary Lunke was one shot further back in a group at 3-under-par 69 that featured Lorena Ochoa and Heather Bowie.
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Mizuno Classic
  • Full Coverage - Mizuno Classic