Sorenstam starts in style

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Annika Sorenstam began the hunt for her fifth straight Mizuno Classic title in style yesterday, opening with an eight-under-par 64 to sit a stroke behind South Korea's Young Kim. Sorenstam birdied seven of the first 10 holes on her way to eight birdies.

"I hit my short irons good, I putted well and drove the ball well," said Sorenstam, an eight-time winner on the LPGA Tour this year. "I guess when you shoot eight-under, you've got to be doing something right. I'm very happy with my start."

Sorenstam joined Laura Davies in the LPGA record books at this event last year when she won it for the fourth consecutive time.

But the Swede, who has already wrapped up her eighth Player of the Year award and eighth money title this season, might have a battle on her hands this time out as Kim also got off to a strong start, reaching the turn at six-under before finishing on nine-under.

"That's the best score of my career," said an elated Kim, who at one point birdied six consecutive holes. While many South Korean golfers have made their mark on the LPGA this season, Kim has yet to taste victory. "I'm still hoping for mine," she said.

Japan's Shiho Ohyama is alone in third after opening with a 65, with the South Koreans Il Mi Chung and Jeong Jang tied for fourth at six-under after 66s.

The Australian Karrie Webb, playing in the same group with Sorenstam and the rising Japanese star Ai Miyazato in front of a large gallery, shot a five-under 67 to leave her tied for sixth in a group of eight women which also includes the English veteran Davies and Sophie Gustafson of Sweden.