PHOENIX — Top-ranked Yani Tseng played a seven-hole stretch on the back nine in 7 under and finished with 7-under 65 Thursday for a share of the first-round lead with Hee Young Park in the LPGA Founders Cup.
Tseng birdied the 11th, 13th and 14th holes, eagled the par-5 15th and birdied the 16th and 17th. She had a 4-foot try for a birdie on 18 but pulled her putt just left.
"I tried too hard on the last hole," Tseng said. "I think it's harder at the end because you are trying, you're saying, 'Oh, I have three, I have four.' And you want to go five, six, seven, and every hole is harder. You're just trying harder and harder."
Park closed with bogey on the par-4 ninth for her 65. "Most of the shots were perfect," the South Korean player said.
Jiyai Shin opened with 66, and second-ranked Na Yeon Choi was another shot back along with Karen Stupples, Pernilla Lindberg and Hee Kyung Seo in the tour's first U.S. event of the year after stops in Australia, Thailand and Singapore.
Tseng successfully defended her LPGA Thailand title in February for her 13th LPGA victory. The Taiwanese star led the tour last season with seven victories, including two majors, and finished with 12 worldwide titles.
Defending champion Karrie Webb was in a group at 68 that included Stacy Lewis, So Yeon Ryu, Cristie Kerr and Ai Miyazato. Seminole's Brittany Lincicome shot 3-under 69, Tampa resident Kristy McPherson 1-over 73, and Tampa's Cindy LaCrosse 74.