Mobile, AL – Lexi Thompson and Eun-Hee Ji both fired 7-under 65s on Thursday and they share the lead after one round of the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic.
Thompson, last year's runner-up, is searching for her second LPGA Tour title, while Ji hasn't won since claiming the 2009 U.S. Women's Open.
Jessica Korda is alone in third place at minus-6 at the Crossings Course, which is part of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Magnolia Grove.
Nicole Castrale headlines a group of seven players that share fourth place at 5-under. She was joined there by Hee Young Park, Thidapa Suwannapura, Mina Harigae, Dewi Claire Schreefel, Chella Choi and Jennifer Johnson.
Defending champion and world No. 2 Stacy Lewis posted a 2-under 70 and is tied for 33rd.
Thompson, who fired a 65 in the final round last year to lose by one to Lewis, parred five of her first six holes from the 10th, her first. She birdied the 13th, then jumped to minus-4 with three straight birdies from the 16th.
The 18-year-old tripped to a bogey at the second. After a pair of pars, Thompson again made three birdies in a row, this time from the fifth. At the ninth, her last, Thompson stuffed her approach shot within inches of the cup and kicked that in for a closing birdie.
"Well, I definitely had (last year) in mind, but you know, it's a whole different year and a new day so I was just trying to go out and make some birdies. I knew my game was good, so just going to try to keep that going," said Thompson, whose lone tour win was at the 2011 Navistar LPGA Classic. "I hit 17 greens, so just taking one shot at a time and just doing my pre-shot routine, stay in the moment."
Ji started with three pars in a row from the first. She dropped in a birdie chance at the fourth and followed with another at the fifth.
The two-time LPGA Tour winner birdied the seventh. Ji wasn't done there, as she also birdied the eighth and ninth to make the turn at minus-5.
Ji birdied the two par-5s on the back nine, Nos. 13 and 16, to grab a share of the lead.
"I just focus on my game and I just keep positive with my game," said Ji, who played alongside Suwannapura and Schreefel as the group combined to post 17- under par.
Korda carded three birdies on both sides for her 66.
"It was a great round, bogey-free 6-under, so I'm pretty happy about that," stated Korda. "I was hitting the ball pretty good. I made two birdies my first two holes and I was like okay, this might be a good day."
NOTES: Thompson's Navistar win came on another course on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail ... Thompson and Korda played in the Junior Solheim Cup together in 2009 and were teammates on the United States Curtis Cup team the following year ... World No. 1 Inbee Park is taking the week off.