Pettersen atop Leaderboard in Taiwan Championship

Battling rainy, foggy and windy conditions, Suzann Pettersen got off to a solid start in defense of her title in the Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship.

The $2 million, 72-hole event began Thursday at Sunrise Golf & Country Club in Yang Mei, Taoyuan, Taiwan.

The 32-year-old Norwegian posted six birdies and two bogeys for a 4-under 68, good for a three-shot lead over Irene Cho, Caroline Hedwall, Karine Icher and Alison Walshe.

"I feel pretty good with my game," Pettersen said. "I feel by ball-striking is pretty much where I want it to be."

Pettersen has won twice this year and is currently second in the Rolex World Ranking behind Inbee Park. The Oslo native trails the South Korean by just over 200 points.

Park isn't playing this week, so a second consecutive win in Taiwan by Pettersen would take her closer to Park with two tournaments remaining on the schedule.

Local favorite Yani Tseng, the 2011 Sunrise champion, opened with a 76. "I need to be more confident," the erstwhile top-ranked player in women's golf said later. "I need to believe in myself a little more."

Other scores included a 74 by Lexi Thompson, the winner two weeks ago in Malaysia. Last week's winner, Amy Yang, is not playing in Taiwan.

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