Rookie Mirim Lee of South Korea shot 8-under-par 64 in the first round of the JTBC Founders Cup to take a one-stroke lead over Morgan Pressel at Wildfire Golf Club at JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort and Spa in Phoenix.
The 23-year-old Lee, who has won three times on the Korean LPGA Tour, recorded nine birdies in her round, including six on the back nine after starting on the 10th hole. She had four consecutive birdies through the 16th hole.
“Everything was good,” said Lee, who finished second in LPGA Tour Qualifying School late last year. “So yeah, (I made) two, three long putts. So today not too difficult. It was easy today, a good day.”
Pressel, seeking her third LPGA Tour victory and first since the 2008 Kapalua LPGA Classic, also started at No. 10 and played the back nine in 7-under 29. She was 9-under through 11 holes before making her only bogeys on the third and fourth holes.
Top-ranked Inbee Park of South Korea birdied four of her last five holes to shoot 66 and was tied for third with defending champion Stacy Lewis, Gerina Piller, Karrie Webb of Australia, Pernilla Lindberg of Sweden, Michelle Wie, Eun-Hee Je of South Korea and Catriona Matthew of Scotland.
Suzann Pettersen of Norway, who can take the top ranking from Park with a victory, carded a 68 and was tied for 18th.