Williamsburg, VA – Ariya Jutanugarn fired a 7-under 64 on Thursday to take a 2-stroke lead at the Kingsmill Championship.
"Today I played very good, so my putting helped me a lot," said Jutanugarn. "I made a lot of putts, but today I still missed on my driver and long irons."
Cristie Kerr sits in second place at Kingsmill Resort & Spa with a 5-under 66, while So Yeon Ryu and Dewi Claire Schreefel share third at 4-under.
World No. 1 Inbee Park and No. 2 Stacy Lewis are among a large group of players tied for fourth place at 3-under 68.
The 17-year-old Jutanugarn, who is playing in the tournament on a sponsor's exemption, quickly made her way up the leaderboard with birdies at the first, second and third.
After parring the fourth, she again reeled off three straight birdies from the fifth to hit the turn at a sizzling 6-under.
She then rolled in a couple of birdies at the 11th and 12th to move to 8-under and a stroke off the course record, but tripped to a double-bogey at the par-3 17th after failing to find the green with her first shot and needing two chips to find the green after flubbing her first attempt.
Jutanugarn, however, recovered with a birdie at the last to regain some cushion from the field.
"On 17, I just missed to the left and just had a bad third shot and second shot," Jutanugarn said. "It did not make me not confident because I knew 18 is not a long par-4, so I could make a birdie on that hole."
Kerr traded birdies at the first and seventh with a bogey at the fifth to make the turn at 1-under.
She then closed strong, picking up shots at the 11th and 14th before finishing her round with back-to-back birdies at the 17th and 18th to pull within two shots of the lead.
"Momentum's always the thing that you want to try and have. Tomorrow's a new day, though, new feel, how you're feeling. You try and carry over the play from today into tomorrow as best you can," said Kerr.
Ryu recorded four birdies during her front nine and closed with nine straight pars during her bogey-free round, while Schreefel countered one bogey with five birdies through her day.
NOTES: Jutanugarn has finished inside the top five in all three LPGA Tour events she has participated in this season. She is currently the leader of the money list on the Ladies European Tour ... Defending champion Jiyai Shin set the course record of 62 in 2012 ... Shin shot a 1-under 70 during her first round and sits in a tie for 39th place.