Singapore: World number one Ariya Jutanugarn joined a five-way tie for the round-one lead at the HSBC Women's World Championship Thursday as reigning title-holder Michelle Wie withdrew with a hand injury.
Australia's Minjee Lee, China's Yu Liu, American Amy Olson and Celine Boutier of France were level with Ariya on four-under-par 68, but it was a brutal day in Singapore for Wie and Amy Yang.
Yang, last week's winner at the LPGA Thailand, lasted just three holes before pulling out due to flu, while Wie's title defence was also cruelly cut short.
The 29-year-old American only returned to action last week after wrist surgery but she struggled to 10 over par through 14 holes, including a double bogey followed by a triple bogey, before calling it quits.
No further details were given about the hand injury and Wie did not speak to reporters as she left the par-72 Sentosa Golf Club course.
Meanwhile Ariya said her run to the top of the board was stoked by sibling rivalry. At three under par with two to play, she saw she was tied for second at three-under with her sister, Moriya.
"I just saw her score," Ariya explained. "So I wanted to make birdie."
The 23-year-old duly delivered with a two on the par-three 17th, and then held her nerve over a par putt on the last to sign for her bogey-free 68.
"I played pretty good," said Ariya. "I hit tee shots pretty good and iron was good. I missed lots of putts but also made a few putts."
Australian rising star Lee entered the event at a career-high world number three, and she carded five birdies and an eagle three to wipe out the damage done by three bogeys.
"I just wanted to bring the momentum into this week," said the 22-year-old. "So I feel like I'm striking it pretty solid and my putting is pretty solid, too. So yeah, I'm hoping to take that momentum into the next three days."
World number two Park Song-Hyun of South Korea had been with the leaders until a bogey five on the last saw her slip back into second on three-under for the day with six other players.
However, much of the talk was about Wie and the disappointment of losing a player who memorably won last year's edition with a brilliant, 45-foot birdie putt on the last hole.
Yang, also 29, won her eighth professional title five days ago in Thailand but she made a bogey five on her second hole and double-bogey six on the third before withdrawing.