Sharp claims narrow lead

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Alena Sharp carded a six-under-par 65 to claim a one-shot lead after the first round of the LPGA NW Arkansas Championship on Friday.

The Canadian managed seven birdies and a single bogey in her round to lead US Open Champion Michelle Wie and Alejandra Llaneza by one stroke.

“It’s been a part of my game that hasn’t been the greatest this year,” said Sharp after her round.

“I’ve hit a lot of greens and not making a lot of birdies, so today was definitely a step in the right direction.”

Wie continued where she left off after winning at Pinehurst and carded a flawless 66 to finish the first round in a tie for second place alongside Mexico’s Llaneza, who also made no bogeys in her first round.

“Definitely running on fumes right now,” Wie said of a whirlwind week after winning her maiden major title last week.

“I think it definitely struck me on the back nine, a little bit tired, but I just was really excited to get out here and start playing again.”

A group of 10 players carded four-under-par 67s, including South Korea’s Ryu So-Yeon and her compatriot Oh Ji-Young, Americans Emma Jandel and Gerina Piller, Sweden’s Caroline Hedwall, the Philippines’ Jennifer Rosales, Chile’s Paz Echeverria, Moriya Jutanugarn and Pornanong Phatlum and China’s Feng Shanshan.

Another 11 players carded three-under-par 68s, including US star Jessica Korda, South Korea’s Choi Na-Yeon and Norway’s Suzann Pettersen.

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