LPGA Tour

Miyazato, Munoz share ANA Inspiration first-round lead

Ai Miyazato co-leads after the first round of the ANA Inspiration.
Ai Miyazato co-leads after the first round of the ANA Inspiration. ( Getty Images )

Friday, April 1, 2016

In 12 previous LPGA starts in 2016, Ai Miyazato and Azahara Munoz had combined for just one top-30 finish. But that didn't seem to matter on Thursday.

The pair matched scores of 5-under 67 at Mission Hills' Dinah Shore Tournament Course, moving into an early share of the lead at the ANA Inspiration. Miyazato went bogey-free and Munoz posted a flawless scorecard until a surprising bogey at the par-5 18th.

“It's always exciting to be here,” Miyazato said. “I know a lot of history and background. Well, obviously I haven't really played well on this golf course, but finally my game is coming all together."

That on-course progression began emerging last week. Ahead of the Kia Classic, Miyazato's best finish all year had been a tie for 50th. But thanks to bookend rounds of 67 and 66 at Aviara Golf Club, Miyazato posted a third-place showing in California.

She's followed it up with another score in the mid-60s, and apparently the nine-time LPGA winner saw all of this coming.

“I’ve been feeling good about my game since the beginning of the season,” Miyazato said. “I said to myself just be patient until the scoring is going to be good. I had a good self talk since the beginning of the season, so I actually had have confidence since then.”

Following a similar path in performances, Munoz is also starting to see her labor bear fruit. The one-time LPGA winner has also espoused a positive attitude despite her results not matching her outlook.

“It's funny because I've been really working on my attitude, but the results haven't really showed, even though I've been doing so much better,” Munoz told the media. “But I just -- I know I need to keep believing in myself."

While nobody went too low in Rancho Mirage, Calif. on Thursday, 39 players ended the day in red figures. Catriona Matthew leads a trio at 4 under, while several big names lurk a tiny further back.

Lexi Thompson and Ha Na Jang (3 under) and Lydia Ko, Inbee Park and Michelle Wie (2 under) all find themselves within a few of the lead.

Hannah O'Sullivan's 72 marked the best among the amateur contingent on Thursday.

- Information from the LPGA was used in this report

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