Paula Creamer and Mariajo Uribe, of Colombia, fired five-under 67s to share the lead after the first round of the LPGA Tour's Kia Classic on Thursday.
American Creamer won for the 10th time on the Tour earlier this year at the HSBC Women's Champions, while Uribe claimed the title at the 2011 LPGA Brazil Cup.
"I played pretty solid. I had one bogey, but I gave myself a bunch of opportunities, and you know, putted really well, made some good two-putts," said Creamer.
Cristie Kerr began her tournament with a four-under 68 at the Park Hyatt Aviara Golf Club. She was joined in third place by China's Feng Shanshan, England's Jodi Ewart Shadoff and Lee Mi-Hyang, of South Korea.
World No 1 Park In-bee was one stroke back at three under and shares seventh place with Lexi Thompson, Tiffany Joh, Azahara Munoz and Lizette Salas.
Stacy Lewis fired a two-under 70. She is one of 18 players tied for 12th. Japan's Ai Miyazato and 2011 US Women's Open champion Ruy So-Yeon are also in the group at two under.
The 27-year-old Creamer had consecutive birdies at Nos. 13 and 14 after beginning her round on the back nine. She added two more birdies on 17 and 18 to make the turn at three under.
Creamer birdied No 2 to reach four-under and she tied for the lead with a birdie at the eighth hole.
"And I think it's an advantage playing early in the morning, and I wanted to take that advantage and try and get as many birdies, but eliminate the bogeys," Creamer said.
Park said she is hoping to improve her short game on Friday.
"Today my ball striking was great. I hit almost every fairway and every green, and I probably hit at everything inside 15 feet. Didn't hole anything," Park said.
"Had two tap-in birdies and one five-footer for birdie. Except for that, it was actually a little tougher day on the greens for me, but the ball striking was just really, really good."
PAULA CREAMER, Rolex Rankings No. 8
Q. All right. I'm now joined by Paula Creamer, our co-leader in the clubhouse at the Kia Classic. 67 in your opening round. You have to be very pleased with the way you started today.
PAULA CREAMER: I am. I played pretty solid. I had one bogey, but I gave myself a bunch of opportunities, and you know, putted really well, made some good 2 putts. And I think it's an advantage playing early in the morning, and I wanted to take that advantage and try and get as many birdies, but eliminate the bogeys.
Q. Where did you minimize mistakes today? A lot of people said there are some trouble spots. Where did you think you kept the mistakes to the minimum?
PAULA CREAMER: Well, I made some good birdies. I hit the ball pretty well. I think I missed four greens and only had to chip really once.
But you know, this golf course is tough with the wind, and you can see the scores, it does, it's pretty wide open. It's generous off the tee, but it all comes down to just the wind and the greens for sure.
Q. I doubt you had any difficulty picking out a pink outfit today for Pink Thursday. Talk about just raising awareness for breast cancer and how special of a chance this is just for you guys to be decked out in pink and raise awareness for a great cause?
PAULA CREAMER: No, it is. It's very important. We have obviously October, breast cancer month, but every month, every day is we have to take such an importance into that, I think, as a woman, and as I'm getting older and things like that, it's even more important to teach the generations about that.
But we have such good people out on tour that do so many wonderful things, Morgan with her foundation, Cristie as well, bringing awareness to it. I've been fortunate. I don't have any breast cancer that runs through my family, but still, it's so important to keep getting your checkups and getting on top of the ball before anything ever starts.
Q. Absolutely. Great job so far. Thanks for joining us. Best of luck.
PAULA CREAMER: Thank you.
Q. You mentioned that wind. You could feel it out there even early, huh?
PAULA CREAMER: Oh, definitely. It was swirling a lot, too. It was pretty inconsistent at spots out there, but you just kind of have to trust your wind map or trust and see what's going on out there, but it did swirl a lot.
Q. Good to get on the greens early?
PAULA CREAMER: Yeah, that's what this golf course is about is starting early and taking those advantages, and the closer you hit it, too, the easier it is, but they're pretty soft still. You know, they released a little bit today, but hopefully they won't put too much water on it this afternoon and going into tomorrow and especially into Sunday.
Q. Were you hitting it very close today?
PAULA CREAMER: Yeah. My birdies all came within three, four feet on some of them.
You know, I made one long one on 3, but really maybe five, six feet for the most part and just gave myself a bunch of looks and put it on the right side of the hole.
Q. How long was the long one?
PAULA CREAMER: It was maybe about 35 feet.
Q. That's long for some people, but not you, huh?
PAULA CREAMER: It was long. (Laughs).
Q. What happened on the bogey?
PAULA CREAMER: Bogey was on 15. I hit it in the fairway, but I hit it in the right bunker, and it plugged in the face, and I didn't get up and down and I two putted.
Q. Is this a continuation of how you've been playing, do you feel like ball striking wise?
PAULA CREAMER: Very much, yeah. You know, I missed a couple of fairways out there, which is not really normal for me. I normally hit a lot of fairways and greens, and I missed a couple in the rough. And you know, I'm going to definitely go hit some balls to fix that.
But for the most part, yeah, I've been pretty steady, and I think it's too far away from me, which is a good thing. I can kind of feel what's happening with my golf swing and try to nip it in the bud before, and before we start going on a downer path. And I think that's just what I've been working on so much with my coach, David Whelan, is being aware of what's happening and why it happens.
Q. Is that why it's so beneficial to win early in the year, too, you can just kind of feed off that?
PAULA CREAMER: Well, it's beneficial any time to win, but for me, yeah, it definitely has made this season, you know, a lot sweeter, that's for sure. It's made me believe even more in what we're doing with my golf swing, and you know, all those hard times that I've been struggling with the last couple of years, it just kind of puts a cap to it and all and just shows what perseverance is all about, you just keep doing what you need to do.
Q. Do you think it pays to play aggressively out here at Aviara?
PAULA CREAMER: A little bit. Definitely helps you with scoring clubs into the greens. You still have to worry about spin with your wedges and things like that, but you know, some of the pins that they put, there are some tricky spots, but it's only going to get tougher, and I'm glad that I could come out and play a good solid round. And you know, whatever happens happens from here on out, but I can only go out and kind of stick to my game plan, which is a little bit aggressive, but I know when to back off, too.
Mariajo Uribe, Rolex Rankings No. 140
Q: This was your low round of the year so far. What was working for you today and can you take us through your round out there?
I took advantage of the first couple of holes where the greens weren’t that bad. I made four birdies on the first five holes and just took it from there. Stayed pretty calm, we were playing pretty slow out there so, just a lot of time down didn’t really think about it that much. I just wanted to be done today and don’t have to come in the morning.
Q: You brought it up – the pace was a little bit slow especially on the back 9. Did it affect your game at all?
I mean, it was just a rush at the end. You don’t want to come at 5am to warm up and play one hole. But we were trying to do it as fast as we could and we were always waiting, but I just tried to stay calm and it had affected me in the past and I am glad it didn’t today.
Q: How did you overcome that this time around?
Yeah, I think we just, it was a fun group. We get along with the players I was playing with so at least we were waiting with people we like to talk to and it went by faster than other times.
Q: How was it with the darkness coming? I know you had to pick it up there at the end. Could you see anything on the 18th hole?
Not really. I mean on the green I am glad we had those shorter green in the books. It was really hard to see if it was uphill or downhill I just wanted to make a par and get out of here.
Image: Source: Donald Miralle/Getty Images North America