Parker and Feng lead Dubai Ladies Masters, teen Thompson three behind

Lexi Thompson at the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters
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Defending champion Lexi Thompson dug herself a little hole with bogeys on two of her first four holes at the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters on Wednesday.
By news services

Series: Other Tour

Published: Wednesday, December 05, 2012 | 12:50 p.m.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Defending champion Lexi Thompson opened with a 3-under 69 Wednesday at the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters, three shots off the leaders.

Shanshan Feng and Florentyna Parker both shot 66s after the first round of the season-ending event on the Ladies European Tour.


Founded in 2006, the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters is the first full-field Ladies European Tour event to be played in the Middle East.

''I could have dropped a few more putts. I had a lot of lip-outs out there. But I'll take 3 under for a first round,'' said Thompson, who had two bogeys on her first four holes. ''If I can stay around there and shoot a few more under than that, I'll be in a good position.''

Feng, who became the first player from mainland China to win an LPGA Tour major championship in June at the Wegmans LPGA Championship, had six birdies at the Emirates Golf Club.

Parker moved into a tie for the lead with a birdie the par-5 18th. Klara Spilkova, Sahra Hassan and Cindy Lacrosse were a stroke behind.

Michelle Wie (70) is four shots behind after a round that included a double bogey on the par-4 12th. Carlota Ciganda, who leads the LET Order of Merit, shot 70. Germany’s Caroline Masson, about $35,000 behind her in second place, had a 68 to be in a share of sixth spot.

Masson needs a top-three finish to have a chance of stopping the 22-year-old Spaniard from becoming the first player since Laura Davies in 1985 to win both the money list and the Rookie of the Year title in the same season.

Parker, who has been practicing in Dubai for the last two months, birdied the par-5 last to catch Feng. Parker has finished ninth and fourth the past two years in this event.

"I do usually do well on this course -- it suits me," said the 23-year-old, whose brother Ben Parker, a European Challenge Tour player, is caddying for her. "My putting was really good. I hit 14 greens and had 26 putts. I feel so comfortable here."

Feng is ranked sixth in the world, but is making her Dubai debut this week.

"I came with pressure, actually," she said. "Before the round I told myself I have to be patient, whether I'm playing well or not. I was only 1 under through seven holes and missed a lot of chances, so to finish 6 under I'm really happy about that."

Masson came home in a 4-under 33 to re-ignite her money list title hopes, grabbing birdies at the 10th, 12th, 13th and 515-yard 18th.