DALY CITY -- The LPGA Tour made its long-awaited return to the Bay Area on Thursday, and the fog was there to greet a world-class field at Lake Merced Golf Club.
France's Karine Icher shot a 6-under 66 to take a two-stroke lead in the $1.8 million Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic, after players braved a two-hour fog delay at the outset.
Teen sensation Lydia Ko, who celebrated her 17th birthday on Thursday, surged into a five-way tie for second place at 68 with four birdies on the vulnerable back nine.
With rain in the forecast for Friday, the weather could remain a nuisance for the 72-hole inaugural event, the first LPGA tournament in the Bay Area since 2010.
Michelle Wie, coming off her first victory since 2010 in her home state of Hawaii, shot a 72 and was tied for 24th.
"It's just a tough golf course," said Wie, who finished with a birdie on No. 18 in pending darkness. "I'll take an even-par round. It's a good position in the first round. I just need to make some more birdies (Friday)."
Wie's day got off to a crazy start. She had a double bogey on the first hole after finding the bunker on an adjacent fairway off the tee.
"I hit it right, and I went in the bunker on the sixth hole," a chuckling Wie said of her mishap. "And then it was like a whole circus because I was trying to hit it down the sixth hole, so I was waiting for them to finish the hole. That took awhile."
She hit a 5-iron shot off the lip of the bunker, chipped out and hit a 7-iron to about 15 feet, before just missing a bogey putt.
Play was suspended because of darkness at 8:08 p.m. with 24 players remaining on the course. The fog was rolling in and out all morning, on an otherwise calm and overcast day.
"Fog is not something you can watch on a radar and predict," said Melissa "Mo" Martin, who shot a 69 along with fellow Americans Stacy Lewis and Morgan Pressel. "I think I warmed up four times today. We were the second group off, so I was on and off the range."
Others at 68 were Maria McBride, who had a wild ride with seven birdies and three bogeys, Dewi Claire Schreefel, Jenny Shin and Ilhee Lee.
Paula Creamer, a Pleasanton native, struggled with four straight bogeys on the front nine and finished at 4-over 76.
Her run of 75 consecutive cuts made could be in jeopardy with another subpar effort Friday by the 10-time tour winner.
Hall of Famer Juli Inkster of Los Altos was 1 over through 17 holes.
Competitors picked on the back nine of the tree-lined course with thick, salad-like rough.
Icher, who began on the 10th hole, was 4 under before making her turn. She made a birdie putt on No. 9, her 18th hole of the day, to complete a bogey-free round.
Karine Icher 66 -6
Lydia Ko 68 -4
Ilhee Lee 68 -4
Jenny Shin 68 -4
Maria McBride 68 -4
Dewi C. Schreefel 68 -4
Morgan Pressel 69 -3
Suzann Pettersen 70 -2
Michelle Wie 72 Even
Juli Inkster +1 thru 17
Karrie Webb 74 +2
Paula Creamer 76 +4