EVIAN, France — Beth Daniel shot a five-under-par 67 in the opening round of the Evian Masters on Wednesday, taking a one-stroke lead against the year's strongest field in Europe.
Daniel finished with an eagle by making a 35-foot putt and had six birdies in her bid to win for the first time since 1995.
Fellow American Wendy Ward and Taiwan's Yu Ping Lin are tied for second. Eight players share third place at 69, including defending champion Annika Sorenstam and Sophie Gustafson, both Swedish, Korea's Se Ri Pak and American Pat Hurst.
U.S. Open champion Karrie Webb shot 71 with an eagle, two birdies and three bogeys to tie for 16th.
The Australian star showed her temper on No. 18 after missing a birdie putt from six feet. She angrily threw her putter away, just missing an official, before throwing her ball into a pond.
Daniel, 44, got off to a rough start with bogeys on the first and fourth holes, but she dropped only one more stroke the rest of the way, when wind pulled her wedge shot left at the 15th.
"I feel like I can still win," Daniel said. "The older you get the harder you have to work."
Ward chipped in for two of her five birdies, holing a 20-foot bunker shot at the ninth and chipping in from 18 feet from the fringe on No. 15.
For Lin, getting around the par-72, 6,084-yard course was easy compared with getting to the $2.1-million tournament.
She was delayed after Swiss customs officials refused to allow her and her grandmother to make a shortcut from the French side of Geneva airport through Switzerland because they did not have visas.
"But oh, I feel lucky," a beaming Lin said. "At least I'm here. Nice fairways and greens. I feel very fresh, very free here."
Sorenstam eagled the seventh with a seven-wood to 10 feet and had three birdies and three bogeys in her 69.
"Overall, I'm happy," she said. "I made a lot of good shots and a few mistakes."