Stacy Lewis roused the Arkansas crowd with an impressive start.

Seon Hwa Lee's finish was even better.

Lee birdied five of her final six holes Friday for an 8-under 64 to take a two-shot lead at the LPGA Tour's NW Arkansas Championship.

Lee ended with a flourish, hitting a pitching wedge from 104 yards to about 3 feet on No. 18, setting up her last birdie.

"My swing feels really good now," said Lee, who won the Ginn Tribute last month. "When I practiced this afternoon ... I hit it pretty solid."

The start was delayed about five hours, bringing back memories of last September, when the inaugural event was shortened from 54 to 18 holes because of heavy rain. It rained hard early Friday morning, and the fairway below the 18th green at Pinnacle Country Club was flooded after a water hazard overflowed.

When the first groups finally started, Lewis took center stage. With a gallery of around 200 cheering her on, the former University of Arkansas star began with birdies on Nos. 1, 3 and 4.

"The first couple of holes I honestly didn't expect that many people to be out there," Lewis said. "The first tee was awesome. It was so loud out there, and it was pretty cool."

Lewis finished with a 69 on the 6,238-yard course, four strokes worse than her tournament-best score a year ago. Because the event lasted only 18 holes last year, she didn't get credit for an official victory. This weekend, she'll have a chance to earn one.

"I would like to shoot a better score," said Lewis, who was tied for eighth. "But I feel like I'm in a good position going into the next couple days, and I just hope we get all the rounds in."

The sun came out Friday afternoon, and although about half the field wasn't able to finish the first round, the prospects for the rest of the weekend appear more promising than last year.

"We've got a great chance of finishing this golf tournament Sunday afternoon," said Doug Brecht, the LPGA Tour's vice president of rules and officials.

H.J. Choi (66) was second, a shot ahead of Ai Miyazato and Eun-Hee Ji. Kristy McPherson also was 5 under through 13 holes.

McPherson started on No. 10 and birdied six of her first seven holes. McPherson shot a first-round 66 at Pinnacle last year.

Soo-Yun Kang shot a 68, and Jee Young Lee was 4 under through 11.

McPherson was the only American in the top seven. Miyazato is from Japan, and the other five players are from South Korea.

Lewis, the 2007 NCAA champion, competed as an amateur in this tournament last year. She finished her career at Arkansas earlier this year _ and might end up being the biggest draw this weekend. That's saying something, considering big names such as Paula Creamer, Morgan Pressel and Natalie Gulbis are in the field.

Lewis led the U.S. Women's Open after three rounds last weekend in her pro debut, then finished five shots behind Inbee Park.

"The first few days I was here, so many people wanted to say congratulations. And I love that, but I guess I just didn't expect that many people," Lewis said. "It's nice to finally just go out on the golf course. I mean that's what I'm here to do. That's where I'm most comfortable."

Park shot a 70 Friday while playing in a group with Pressel (69) and Creamer (73).

The tournament is sponsored by P&G Beauty and presented by John Q. Hammons.