Two players looking to make a comeback find themselves tied for the lead on day one of the ANA Inspiration.

For the first time in more than three years, Ai Miyazato holds a share of the lead along with Azahara Munoz, who is still bouncing back after undergoing surgery on her left hand to remove a benign tumor in March of 2015.

Thursday, Miyazato opened with a bogey-free 5-under par, 67 in the morning wave of the season’s first major, taking the first round lead for the first time since the 2013 Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic.

“It's always exciting to be here,” Miyazato told the media after her round. “I know a lot of history and background. Well, obviously I haven't really played well on this golf course, but finally my game is coming all together. My family's here, and like I said, my game has been in good shape since last week, and I just feel good.”

Miyazato finished third at last week’s Kia Classic after making an adjustment to the lie on her putter. But for the former world No.1 her performance last week was just the first time her play this season matched her expectations.

“I’ve been feeling good about my game since the beginning of the season,” Miyazato said. “I said to myself just be patient until the scoring is going to be good. I had a good self talk since the beginning of the season, so I actually had have confidence since then.”

Munoz carded her low round of 2016 on Thursday with a 5-under par, 67. She took the outright lead heading to the final hole of the day, but her bunker shot ran out and she made bogey at the last to fall back into a share of the lead. Like Miyazato, Munoz has tried to keep a positive attitude and just now is beginning to see the scores she knew she could post.

“It's funny because I've been really working on my attitude, but the results haven't really showed, even though I've been doing so much better,” Munoz told the media. “But always something happened that it kind of crossed my round. But I just -- I know I need to keep believing in myself and eventually it's going to happen. It obviously hasn't been the easiest of years for me since the surgery and all of that, but I know I'm a good player, and eventually it's going to happen, so if I keep doing what I'm doing, I think I'll be okay.”

The pair leads Catriona Matthew, Shiho Oyama and Lee-Anne Pace at 4-under par. There is a large group T-6 at 3-under par, including Ryann O’Toole, Mi Hyang Lee, Lexi Thompson, Ha Na Jang, In Gee Chun, Amy Yang and Ariya Jutanugarn.

Click here for complete scores from round one of the ANA Inspiration.


Written By: Amy Rogers LPGA