Austin Ernst fired a 6-under-par 65 to tie Azahara Munoz of Spain for the lead after one round of the Kingsmill Championship on the River Course at Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Va.
Ernst, whose best finish on the LPGA Tour was a tie for sixth in the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic last year as a rookie, eagled the third hole and collected five birdies, while making her only bogey on the first hole.
“Really just solid, gave myself a lot of looks,” said Ernst, the 2011 NCAA Women’s champion from LSU, who missed the cut in four of her pervious seven events on the circuit this season. “Hit a lot of greens and made it really easy on myself out there on a day when it was pretty windy and it could kind of get away from you a little bit.
“Really, the only time I even made a bogey or was is trouble of making a bogey was when I missed the fairway. Missed, I think, three fairways.”
Munoz, who has won three times as a pro including the 2012 Sybase Match Play Championship on the LPGA Tour, had a bogey-free 65, saving par out of a greenside bunker by holing a 10-foot putt on the third hole.
Hee-Young Park of South Korea was alone in third with a 66 that included birdies on four of the first six holes of the front nine after she started at No. 10,.
Lexi Thompson carded four birdies while finishing on the front to shoot 67 and was tied for fourth with Cristie Kerr, Lizette Salas of Azusa, Danielle Kang, Brittany Lang, Kathleen Ekey and Thidapa Suwannapura of Thailand.