SOUTHPORT, England — Ayako Uehara of Japan felt confident with the putter and played in the best weather Royal Birkdale has to offer. It was the right combination to take the lead Thursday in the Women’s British Open. And the best she could manage was a 4-under 68.

Michelle Wie, the U.S. Women’s Open champion, spent too much time chipping out of sand and rough on her way to a 75. Cristie Kerr didn’t make a birdie, shot 81 and withdrew with a sore back. Only nine players broke par, all but two of them in the relative calm of a sunny morning along the Irish Sea.

“It’s only going to get harder,” defending champion Stacy Lewis said after a 71. “Anything under par on this golf course is a good score.”

Uehara made three birdies in a four-hole stretch, added two birdies on the back nine and built a one-shot lead over Mo Martin.

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Morgan Pressel scrambled her way to a 70, joined by Sarah Kemp and Mina Harigae. The only players who broke par in the afternoon were former U.S. Women’s Open champion So Yeon Ryu and Amy Yang, who played in the final group at the U.S. Women’s Open last month. Both shot 71.

EDMOND, Okla. — Colin Montgomerie leads after the first round at the U.S. Senior Open.

Montgomerie shot a 6-under 65 in oppressive heat at Oak Tree National. The Scotsman started on 10 and birdied 14, 15 and 16 on the way to a 33 on the back nine. He birdied six, seven and eight to finish strong.

Marco Dawson is second after a 66. He also started on the back nine and shot 2 under, then was steady on the front nine before making birdies on seven, eight and nine.

Mark Brooks shot a 68 and was third. Bernhard Langer, who already has won three Champions Tour events this year, shot a 2-under 69 and was in a five-way tie for fourth.

Kirk Triplett, a graduate of Pullman High School, also shot a 69. Jeff Coston from Blaine had a 71.

SILVIS, Ill. — Zach Johnson, Rory Sabbatini and Brian Harman shot 8-under-par 63s to share the lead after the first round of the John Deere Classic.

Johnson and Sabbatini played bogey-free golf, while Harman had nine birdies and one bogey on the par-71 TPC Deere Run.

They led 2004 British Open champion Todd Hamilton, Australian Steven Bowditch and William McGirt, the best afternoon finisher, by a stroke. Brendon de Jonge, Kevin Tway, David Toms and Robert Streb are two back at 6-under 65.

Ryan Moore from Puyallup shot a 66. Former Husky Alex Prugh had a 68. Former Husky Richard H. Lee shot a 70. Kyle Stanley of Gig Harbor had a 71. Former Husky Troy Kelly shot a 73.


Paul Azinger said the quest by Tiger Woods to make his swing better has backfired on him. “I think he’s actually gotten a little bit worse,” Azinger said.

Rory McIlroy tamed blustery conditions on day one of the Scottish Open in Aberdeen to shoot a 7-under 64, giving him a one-stroke lead and showing his links game is in great shape ahead of the British Open at Hoylake.

Andres Gonzales from Olympia shot a 9-under 62 in the first round of the Tour’s Utah Championship in Sandy. Gonzales has a three-shot lead.