Thai teenager Ariya Jutanugarn shot an 8-under 64 on Wednesday at breezy Ko Olina to take a one-stroke lead over Suzann Pettersen and Hee Kyung Seo after the first round of the LPGA Lotte Championship in Kapolei, Hawaii.
Jutanugarn, 17, played the front nine in 6-under 30 in her afternoon round, dropped a shot on the par-4 10th with her lone bogey, then eagled the par-5 14th and birdied the par-4 15th.
Jutanugarn was in position to win the LPGA Thailand in February, only to collapse on the final hole to hand Inbee Park the title. Jutanugarn closed with a triple bogey to blow a two-shot lead, missing out on a playoff when she lipped out a 3-foot putt. She rebounded three weeks ago in Morocco, winning the Ladies European Tour's Lalla Meryem Cup for her first pro title.
Pettersen, a 10-time winner on the LPGA Tour, had nine birdies and two bogeys in her morning round.
"I tried to be really aggressive," said Pettersen, coming off a third-place tie two weeks ago in the Kraft Nabisco Championship. "My dad was so disappointed after the Kraft that I left all the putts short. He's like, 'You got to hit the ball past the hole to make putts.' "
Local favorite Michelle Wie posted a 2-under 70, while 15-year-old amateur Lydia Ko and Paula Creamer shot 71s.
According to Nielsen on Monday, the round drew an average household rating/share of 10.2/21, up 26 percent from last year's 8.1/19. Sunday's round peaked with a 13.4/25 from 7-7:30 p.m. EDT.
Ratings represent the percentage of all homes with televisions tuned to a program. Shares represent the percentage of all homes with TVs in use at the time. Overnight ratings measure the country's largest markets.
Els, who tied for 13th last week, is part of a strong field at the RBC Heritage, which begins Thursday at Harbour Town Golf Links (S.C.).
Els earned his fourth major at the British Open at Royal Lytham & St. Anne's last July when Scott threw away a four-shot lead with four holes left. Els consoled Scott before hoisting the claret jug, but Sunday's reunion was celebratory.
"We had quite a few beers," Els said smiling. "I was delighted for him."