CARLSBAD, Calif. (AP) — Paula Creamer easily overcame tricky morning wind conditions Thursday in the Kia Classic for a share of the first-round lead with Mariajo Uribe.
Creamer and Uribe shot 5-under 67 at Aviara to finish a stroke ahead of Cristie Kerr, Shanshan Feng, Jodi Ewart Shadoff and Mi Hyang Lee.
"It was swirling a lot," Creamer said about the wind. "It was pretty inconsistent at spots out there, but you just kind of have to trust your wind map or trust and see what's going on out there."
A playoff winner March 2 in Singapore, Creamer had six birdies and bogeyed the par-4 15th — her sixth hole of the day — after her approach plugged in the face of a bunker.
"I played pretty solid," Creamer said. "I had one bogey, but I gave myself a bunch of opportunities and putted really well, made some good two-putts. I think it's an advantage playing early in the morning and I wanted to take that advantage."
In Singapore, she made a breaking, downhill 75-foot eagle putt on the second extra hole to beat Azahara Munoz.
"It's funny," Creamer said before the round. "Every time I walk down the putting green, (players) go, 'Oh, the green's not big enough for you.'"
The victory ended a 79-event drought dating to the 2010 U.S. Women's Open.
"It's beneficial any time to win, but for me, it definitely has made this season, a lot sweeter, that's for sure," Creamer said. "It's made me believe even more in what we're doing with my golf swing. All those hard times that I've been struggling with the last couple of years, it just kind of puts a cap to it and all and just shows what perseverance is all about."
Uribe, from Colombia, birdied Nos. 2-5 and 11 in her bogey-free afternoon round.
"I took advantage of the first couple of holes where the greens weren't that bad," said Uribe, who finished in fading light. "It was just a rush at the end. You don't want to come at 5 a.m. to warm up and play one hole. I just tried to stay calm.
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