Mel Evans, Associated Press
Lorena Ochoa of Mexico reacts to her birdie on the 18th hole during the first round of the LPGA Championship at Bulle Rock Golf Course in Havre de Grace, Md.

HAVRE DE GRACE, Md. — Even in grass up to her knees, Lorena Ochoa never panicked.

Trying to become the fourth woman to win three straight majors, Ochoa wanted to get off to a strong start Thursday in the McDonald's LPGA Championship, and instead had nowhere to go in the rough left of the 13th fairway. She eventually had to walk 50 yards back to play her next shot and took double bogey.

Four holes into her round, she was eight shots behind.

"For sure I had to fight hard and catch up," Ochoa said. "And I did it."

She didn't make it all the way back, but she followed her plan on a soggy Bulle Rock course. Even par by the turn, three birdies on her back nine, a 3-under 69 that left her three shots behind Lorie Kane of Canada and Emily Bastel.

And she was one shot ahead of Annika Sorenstam, who has six months left to catch Ochoa before she retires.

"Today was important just not to get away too far from the leaders, and that's why I'm so happy that I did," Ochoa said. "Three under for the first day of a major is good, even though I had the double bogey. And hopefully, tomorrow I'll have a great round."

Neither of the leaders have had a top 10 all year, and Kane has struggled to make cuts. But they found their way across a long and soggy golf course, with took on so much rain overnight that fairways felt like carpet in a home that had been flooded.

"Am I surprised by a low round? I knew it was in me, and I know I have a lot more of those," Kane said. "I know it's a long way to Sunday, but I am encouraged by what's been happening the last few weeks."

Bastel finished her bogey-free 66 with a hybrid into 12 feet for birdie on the 18th hole, one of two holes where the tees were moved up some 30 yards to accommodate the wet conditions.

She won the Futures Tour money title a year ago, and is slowly making progress.

"It's exciting to have this happen," said Bastel, playing in only her sixth major. "Early in the week, just try to enjoy it and keep it going."

Lindsey Wright had a 67 and was one shot behind, followed by a group at 68 that included Nicole Castrale.

STANFORD ST. JUDE CHAMPIONSHIP: At Memphis, Tenn., Boo Weekley made the most of his time after missing the cut in the Memorial, with his work around the greens at TPC Southwind paying off.

Combining his usual strong ballstriking with efficient putting, Weekley shot a 5-under 65 to take the first-round lead in the Stanford St. Jude Championship. He closed with a birdie on No. 18 to move a stroke ahead of Tommy Armour III.

Armour, who shot a 66, had been tied with Weekley at 5 under. But Armour bogeyed his 16th hole about the same time Weekley finished up with his birdie to take the lead to himself in the last tuneup for the U.S. Open.

Vijay Singh survived an afternoon roller-coaster featuring two bogeys, a double bogey, an eagle and five birdies for a 67. Sergio Garcia, The Players Championship winner last month, and Davis Love III were among a group of seven at 68.

BANK AUSTRIA OPEN: At Oberwaltersdorf, Austria, heavy rain wiped out first-round play in the Bank Austria Open. The start at the Fontana Golf Club was postponed several times before it was rescheduled for Friday. Organizers will decide before the start of the second round Saturday whether the event will be reduced from 72 to 54 holes.