Shanshan Feng took the early lead in the JLPGA's 1st major, the Salonpas Cup, on the strength of a 3-birdie 70. Feng, one of the few remaining dual LPGA-JLPGA members, is making her 1st stop on her 2nd tour since last year's Mizuno Classic. She leads veteran Nobuko Kizawa and youngsters Erika Kikuchi, Lala Anai, and Kotono Kozuma by 1 shot, a passel of players by 2 shots, including Anna Nordqvist, Ayaka Watanabe, Phoebe Yao, and Maiko Wakabayashi, and even more by 3, including Ai Miyazato, Sun-Ju Ahn, Saiki Fujita, and Na-Ri Lee.
With only 13 players at par or better and 5 under par, this week already has a major feel to it. And not everyone was able to handle the pressure of the 1st round. 15-year-old history-maker Minami Katsu opened with an 82, Young Kim with an 81, Shiho Oyama with an 80, Rikako Morita with a 79, Momoko Ueda, Miki Saiki, Onnarin Sattayabanphot, Ritsuko Ryu, and Haruka Morita with 78s, Kumiko Kaneda, Na-Ri Kim, and Yumi Matsubara with 77s, Ji-Yai Shin, Yumiko Yoshida, Minjee Lee, Miki Sakai, and Mayu Hattori with 76s, Sakura Yokomine, Mi-Jeong Jeon, Ji-Hee Lee, Ha Na Jang, Mamiko Higa, Teresa Lu, and Erina Hara with 75s, and Yuri Fudoh, Mika Miyazato, Bo-Mee Lee, Yuki Ichinose, Natsuka Hori, Esther Lee, Bo-Bae Song, and Misuzu Narita with 74s.
Still, a few players did spectacular things in the 1st round. Kozuma eagled the 365-yard par-4 10th, Nordqvist, Hori, and Yun-Jye Wei eagled the 510-yard par-5 17th, and Yao eagled the 505-yard par-5 5th. Airi Saitoh negated a 3-hole bogey train with a 3-hole birdie train as she started the front; she ended up with a 74. So the West Course at Ibaraki can be had.
It'll be interesting to see who can take advantage of it in the 2nd round!