Munoz, Ernst share Kingsmill Championship lead
Williamsburg, VA (SportsNetwork.com) - Azahara Munoz and Austin Ernst fired matching 6-under 65s on Thursday to share the lead after the opening round of the Kingsmill Championship.
Munoz collected her lone win on the LPGA Tour at the 2012 Sybase Match Play Championship, while Ernst is seeking her first career win.
Hee Young Park carded a 5-under 66 on the River Course at Kingsmill Resort & Spa to own sole possession of third place.
Defending champion Cristie Kerr headlines a group of seven players tied for fourth at 4-under 67. Kerr is joined by Kraft Nabisco Championship winner Lexi Thompson, Thidapa Suwannapura, Brittany Lang, Kathleen Ekey, Danielle Kang and Lizette Salas.
Former world No. 1 Yani Tseng is among seven players sharing 11th place at 3- under 68.
Ernst was the first of the co-leaders to take the course and she opened her round with a pair of pars before rolling in a birdie at the 12th. She added birdies at the 14th and 16th to make the turn at 3-under.
A bogey at the first dropped her back to 2-under, but she bounced back with an eagle at the third to jump to minus-4.
Ernst later birdied the seventh and ninth to claim the clubhouse lead at 6- under.
"The course is playing much shorter than normal because it's warmer and drier," said Munoz. "Holes I have been having 4-irons in I was having 9-irons in today. The greens roll nice, so it's real nice to putt. If you hit a good putt, it's going to go in."
Munoz also started on the back nine and raced out of the gate with birdies at the 10th and 11th.
After parring her next nine holes, she converted three birdies in a four-hole stretch from the third to reach 5-under.
Ernst later birdied the ninth to meet Ernst atop the leaderboard.
"Gave myself a lot of looks," Ernst said. "Hit a lot of greens and made it really easy on myself out there on a day when it was pretty windy and it could kind of get away from you a little bit."
Park countered a bogey at the 14th with a birdie at the 15th to remain at even par before rolling in consecutive birdies at the 18th and first to move to 2- under.
She would pick up shots at the third, fifth and sixth to pull within a shot of the leaders, but she could not catch them as she parred her final three holes.
NOTES: Munoz has four top-10 finishes this year, including a pair of runner- ups ... Ernst has not finished better than a share of 33rd place in seven starts this season and has missed the cut in three of her last five events ... Kerr has collected three of her 16 career titles at this event.
05/15 21:50:17 ET