(The Sports Xchange) – Lexi Thompson shot a six-under 65 on Thursday for a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Kingsmill Championship in Williamsburg, Virginia.
Thompson is holding her slim lead over fellow Americans Gerina Piller, Brittany Lincicome and Angel Ying.
Thompson began her round on the back nine and was even at the halfway mark. She started to gain momentum by hitting a birdie on No. 1 (her 10th hole) and put together a stretch of six birdies in seven holes.
“The second nine was pretty crazy,” Thompson said. “I hit some great shots and rolled a few good putts, so (it) definitely helps out my confidence.”
Thompson hit 17 of 18 greens in regulation. She only missed hitting the green on No. 12.
Thompson is playing in her third tournament since losing a playoff in the ANA Inspiration major after being penalized four strokes for a rules violation spotted by a TV viewer.
Lydia Ko, who has held the top ranking for 82 straight weeks, finished with a 67 and is tied for fifth with Sarah Jane Smith and Italian Giulia Molinaro.
Ko carded five birdies and one bogey in the opening round while watching a few putts roll just past the hole.
“Obviously, that’s a really good start to the week,” Ko said. “I am just going to try and give myself as many opportunities and I can. I don’t think I was hitting the ball fantastic, so there is a little bit of improvement to do there.”
Piller, who was in the same group with Thompson, had six birdies and a bogey.
“It’s always good to get off to that kind of start and get comfortable,” Piller said. “The greens are rolling phenomenal. The course is in the best shape I’ve ever seen it. Just happy to be under par and looking forward to tomorrow.”
Defending champion Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand shot a 72.