|Pernilla Lindberg lines up her shot during the first round of the Canadian Women’s Open at Hillsdale Golf & Country Club in Mirabel, Que., Aug. 25, 2011. (MARIE-CLAUDE FOREST/QMI Agency)
MIRABEL, QUE. - Round one of the CN Canadian Women's Open featured an Ai, a Swede, a Wie and a few ehs.
On a day that had sun, clouds and, finally, some heavy rain, former world No. 1 Ai Miyazato made seven birdies en route to a 7-under par 65 on the Laurentian course at the 36-hole Hillsdale Golf and Country Club.
Miyazato, who recently won the Evian Masters in France, had a bogey-free round Thursday. In fact, none of the three players in the leader's group carded a bogey -- a first for Miyazato.
"I've never had this before, so I was kind of nervous at the end because no one is making a bogey," Miyazato said.
On a wet course that looked to favour the big hitters, the diminutive Miyazato was, to quote a scene from Happy Gilmore, feeling the flow.
"I had a really good feeling with my swing tempo today, so I kept it all 18 holes," she said. "That's why I had so many birdie opportunities today."
Sweden's Pernilla Lindberg, who teed off in the afternoon, joined Miyazato at 7-under late in the day by shooting her LPGA career-best 65.
Lindberg, who has made just two cuts this year, says Canada -- and Montreal in particular -- makes her feel at home.
"I love being in Canada," she said. "When I was here for the CN Open last year in Winnipeg, that was the first time I was in Canada, but Montreal has even a little bit more of a European feel to it, which makes me feel like home."
Speaking of Canada, Samantha Richdale sent Canadian fans home happy after shooting a 6-under 66 to sit one shot back.
The Kelowna, B.C., native has made just two of seven cuts this season on the LPGA tour and seems to have saved her best golf for home.
"It's pretty special," Richdale said after her round. "I had my brother in the crowd, which is really nice."
Richdale already has a victory this week. Her group won the Wednesday pro-am.
Defending champion Michelle Wie used her new long putter to roll in two long putts on the back nine, including a 60-footer, to card a bogey-free 67 and sit two shots back of the lead.
"You know, I like my putter," Wie said. "I think there's been quite some talk about it."
Wie switched to the long putter after a tough start to the season, including a disastrous week at the Women's U.S. Open in July.
"I was just kind of practicing my putting strokes with my driver, which is about the same length as it. So I was like, 'Might as well try it. Can't hurt,'" Wie said.
Adrienne White of Red Deer, Alta., is tied for 19th after shooting 69, while Lorie Kane, Maude-Aimee Leblanc and Lisa Meldrum all finished under par as well.