Pettersen Inches toward No. 1

Suzann Pettersen got off to a good start in her pursuit to overtake Inbee Park as the top-ranked player in women's golf.

The 32-year-old Norwegian carded nine birdies and three bogeys for a 6-under 66 and the opening-round lead in the ISPS Handa Women's Open. The tournament - also called the Women's Australian Open - started Thursday at Victoria Golf Club in Australia.

Pettersen won twice last year and is now ranked second behind Park in the world standings. With a victory or a runner-up finish this week, she will overtake Park, who's not entered this week.

Pettersen like how she started out in her first tournament of the year. "In the first round of the year you're always anxious to get started," she said. "It took me a while to get really comfortable, to trust what I've been working on.

"In the end the trust was stronger than the rest. I hit a lot of great shots but I also have to say I left a lot of shots out there. I three-putted a lot of greens, stupid three-putts really, but I also felt like I played good and gave myself a lot of birdie chances."

Tied for second after 67s are Americans Jessica Korda - the tournament winner in 2012 at Royal Melbourne- and Jaclyn Sweeney, South Korean Hee Young Park and France's Marion Ricordeau.

Among the 10 players posting 68 are Americans Paula Creamer and Sydnee Michaels, and teenage phenom Lydia Ko of New Zealand.

Defending champion Jiyai Shin opened with a 74.

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