Na Yeon Choi follows through on her tee shot at No. 8 during the first round… (Jeff Gross / Getty Images )
RANCHO MIRAGE -- Na Yeon Choi and Suzann Pettersen posted early four-under-par 68s Thursday to take the early lead at the Kraft Nabisco Championship at Mission Hills Country Club.
This is golf's first major of the year and Choi, winner of the 2012 U.S. Women's Open, didn't have a bogey in the first round. Choi is nicknamed "NYC," and said she was happy to play early Thursday before the greens became faster in the desert heat.
Lydia Ko, the 15-year-old amateur from New Zealand, and her playing partner, 23-year-old Michelle Wie, who first competed in an LPGA event when she was 12 years old, both shot even-par 72. Wie has only made a single cut this season.
She played with her dark ponytail dyed Stanford Cardinal red. Wie graduated from Stanford last year with a degree in communications.
Lizette Salas, a 2011 graduate of USC from Azusa, was in an early six-way tied for fourth after shooting a two-under-par 70. Jessica Korda, daughter of former Australian Open tennis champ Petr Korda, was also tied for fourth.
Like Choi, Pettersen also didn't have a bogey Thursday. "The course was perfect," Pettersen said. "Greens are rolling pure. But if you miss the fairways you can be in a bit of trouble. The rough is deep." Pettersen is a three-time runner-up here and was the first-round leader in 2010. "I hope I know what I'm doing," she said.
Choi also said she was pleased to get away from the first round without a bogey. "Luckily, I played in the morning," she said. "The greens and fairways are a little softer than the afternoon, I think. But I have to play tomorrow afternoon."
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