Tseng, Hull share British Open lead

Southport: Taiwan`s Yani Tseng, a two-time Major winner, and Australia`s Katherine Hull both eagled the final hole to share the lead after the first round of the Women`s British Open at Birkdale.

The pair carded four under par 68s to finish one ahead of two South Koreans, Yang Amy and Yoo Sun Young, American Brittany Linciome and Anne-Lise Caudal of France.

Michelle Wie was another to finish birdie, par and shot 70, while world No.1 Shin Jiyai raised her hopes of repeating her 2008 win at Sunningdale with a 71.

Tseng, the only player not to drop a shot in the testing windy conditions, birdied the long 17th and then holed a 20-foot eagle putt at the par five 18th.

Hull had an even more stunning three at the final hole when she bolted home a putt from 60 feet.

While challenging for a Major is new territory for Hull - her only win on the LPGA Tour came in the 2008 Canadian Open - Tseng won the 2008 LPGA Championship and this year`s Kraft Nabisco Championship.

"I just love it here," said the 22-year-old of the famous links course.

"I wish we played courses like this every week. It makes you think and keeps you focused."

A big hitter, Tseng hit every green in regulation or better and it was no surprise that other power players hit form on a day when a firm breeze helped to set a stern test.

Linciome is one of the longest players on the LPGA Tour and she said: "It is a huge advantage. Today I hit it so well and also holed some really long putts."

Not that the 24-year-old, who won the Kraft Nabisco Championship last year, made a promising start.

She four-putted the first from just short of the green for a double-bogey and then dropped another shot at the next.

But she didn`t make another mistake and reeled in six birdies, the longest putt falling from 40-feet at the eighth.

Wie tied for third on her British Open debut in 2005 when she was a 15-year-old amateur and it was one of her six top tens in Majors.

But the 20-year-old Hawaiian hasn`t had any since she also finished joint third as a rookie professional in the 2006 US Women`s Open.

Since then, she has suffered serious wrist problems, courted controversy and struggled to regain her youthful good nature.

She did have a highly successful Solheim Cup debut for the US last year and finally won her first professional tournament at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Mexico at the end of last season.

But she has not yet come near to fulfilling her early promise.

"It was a good day," said Wie.

"I bogeyed the first but stayed patient and had lots of birdie chances. The finish was great."

Bureau Report

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