Tseng Gets Hot on Back Nine; Shares Lead in RR Donnelley Cup

After a perfunctory birdie-bogey front nine, No. 1-ranked Yani Tseng got downright torrid on the back nine in the opening round of the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup. The 72-hole, $1.5 million event started Thursday at Wildfire Golf Club in Phoenix, Ariz.

On the home half, the Taiwanese superstar turned on the jets, firing five birdies and an eagle on the par-5 15th for a 7-under-par 29. The 65 by the 23-year-old, who's already recorded a victory this season in just three events, is tied with South Korea's Hee Young Park for the lead.

"(On the) first nine I was missing a few putts out there, but I know I kept to myself, just be patient today because I know I hit it well," Tseng said later. "The ball just didn't go in. But on the back nine I feel like I need to get some birdies, but I wasn't expecting to make seven birdies.

"It was fun. I was patient out there, hung in there and tried to make as many birdies as possible, but last hole I barely made it and tried too hard on the last hole."

Park had a pretty good day herself, carding eight birdies and a lone bogey on the par-4 ninth. She and Tseng are ahead of South Korean Jiyai Shin by a stroke.

Shin, a 23-year-old with eight LPGA titles, enjoys playing in Arizona's desert. "I like the desert course for looking," she said. "It looks beautiful, and yeah, I think I do because I have a good confidence with sand, so when I play on desert and if I miss the shot, it feels like I can recover on the next shot, too. So I'm more comfortable and confident."

Tied for fourth after 67s are South Koreans Hee Kyung Seo and Na Yeon Choi, England's Karen Stupples and Sweden's Pernilla Lindberg. American Reilley Rankin had a chance to be closer to the leaders but double-bogeyed the final hole for a 68.

Lindberg is pleased with how her tournament began. "A nice start," said the 25-year-old, who played her collegiate golf at Oklahoma State. "I mean this is what you want to do the first day. Yeah, I made a lot of birdies. I still left some birdie putts out there and then a couple of bogeys, but I recovered well from them and then came back with birdies right after. So yeah, I'm happy."

Defending champion Karrie Webb is with Rankin in a big group that carded 68s.

For all the scores, visit http://www.lpgascoring.com/public/Leaderboard.aspx.