Southport, England (SportsNetwork.com) - Ayako Uehara carded a 4-under 68 on Thursday to claim a 1-stroke lead after the opening round of the Women's British Open.
Uehara, who has missed the cut in three of her last four starts, is seeking her first career win on the LPGA Tour. Her best finish of the season was a share of 25th place at the Kia Classic in March.
Mo Martin shot a 3-under 69 at Royal Birkdale Golf Club to sit alone in second place, while Sarah Kemp, Mina Harigae and Morgan Pressel each carded a 2-under 70 to share third.
Defending champion and 3-time winner this season Stacy Lewis carded a 1-under 71 during her first round and is tied for sixth place with Amy Yang, So Yeon Ryu and Holly Clyburn.
Kraft Nabisco Championship winner Lexi Thompson, 3-time Women's British Open champion Karrie Webb, Inbee Park, Suzann Pettersen, Lydia Ko, Jessica Korda and Anna Nordqvist are among a group of 14 players tied for 10th at even-par 72.
Women's U.S. Open winner Michelle Wie tripped to a 3-over 75 during her opening round and is in a large group tied for 48th place.
Uehara opened her round with a bogey at the first, but she would not drop another shot for the remainder of the day and after parring the next three holes, she moved into red numbers with consecutive birdies at the fifth and sixth.
She added another gain at the eighth to make the turn at 2-under.
The 31-year-old Japan native then rolled through her inward nine with birdies at the 12th and 18th among seven pars to claim the clubhouse lead at 4-under.
"(I feel) so great right now, because I shoot 4-under today, and I played with Stacy (Lewis) and Charley (Hull) today," Uehara said. "I enjoyed so much."
Martin parred the first before tripping to a bogey at the second. She would later get that shot back with a birdie at the sixth to make the turn at even- par.
After trading a birdie at the 11th with a bogey at the 12th, Martin closed her round in a flourish with birdies at the 14th, 16th and 18th to finish a shot off the pace.
"It really keeps you in the moment," Martin said about Royal Birkdale. "It's designed so well, and I just think -- you just really have to have so much strategy. I don't hit a lot of 3-woods off the tee because I don't hit it very far, and I hit probably four 3-woods today. So that just tells you what all is out there."
Kemp, Harigae and Pressel each battled through an up-and-down opening round to earn their share of third place as Kemp countered three bogeys with five birdies, Harigae bounced back from an opening double-bogey with five birdies and a bogey, and Pressel recorded four birdies and a pair of bogeys to reach 2-under.
NOTES: Uehara holds the first-round lead for the first time since the 2012 Mizuno Classic, where she finished in a career-best third place ... Lizette Salas withdrew before the start of her first round and was replaced by Lucy Williams ... Caroline Masson withdrew nine holes into her day due to an illness and Cristie Kerr also withdrew because of an illness after finishing her round ... Ko can overtake Lewis as the No. 1 golfer in the world with a win and Lewis finishes in a 4-way tie for second or worse ... There were 23 double-bogeys or worse recorded at the first hole on Thursday.
07/10 17:25:08 ET