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Inbee Park, Gerina Piller share early lead


PHOENIX (AP) — Top-ranked Inbee Park birdied her final three holes Thursday for a 6-under 66 and a share of the JTBC Founders Cup lead among the early starters.

Coming off a victory two weeks ago in China in a Ladies European Tour event, Park closed with a tap-in birdie on the par-4 ninth after nearly holing a pitching wedge from 134 yards.

Gerina Piller also shot 66 in perfect conditions at Desert Ridge’s Wildfire Golf Club, and 16-year-old Lydia Ko was a stroke back along with Jodi Ewart Shadoff, Mo Martin and Pornanong Phatlum. Playing alongside Park, Ko closed with a bogey on No. 9 after driving left into the desert.

Defending champion Stacy Lewis, second-ranked Suzann Pettersen, 2011 winner Karrie Webb and Michelle Wie were in the afternoon group.