Playing in back-to-back groups Thursday morning, Lydia Ko of New Zealand and world No. 2 Danielle Kang each shot 7-under-par 64 to share the lead through one round of the Marathon Classic in Sylvania, Ohio.
The pair sit one stroke ahead of Megan Khang at Highland Meadows Golf Club. Four players are tied in fourth at 5 under: Ally McDonald, Angel Yin, South Korea's Jenny Shin and Germany's Sophia Popov.
Ko, who won the event in 2014 and again in 2016, teed off on the 10th hole at 8:11 a.m. ET. Kang, who won the Drive On Championship in the LPGA's return from the pandemic-caused hiatus last week, started 11 minutes later.
Ko, 23, racked up four birdies on a bogey-free back nine, then added four more along with one bogey on the front. She was especially sharp on her approach shots -- including hitting the pin on her second shot at the par-4 fifth -- which set up several short birdie putts.
"I had like four or five really tap-in putts where they're stress-free and not even reading putt," Ko said. "You just walk up there and hole it. ...
"Nice to start this week on a high note."
Kang, 27, totaled seven birdies and no bogeys on the day, including two birdies in her final three holes. More work was required of her putter, as she made several intermediate attempts on the day.
"I was told that if you're playing well, you just got to trust your game and keep playing your game, so that's been my plan since last week and this week," Kang told reporters. "I'm striking it really well. Putting speed is there. Just got to keep trusting it and play my game."
Khang, who also began on No. 10, collected four birdies and an eagle, which came at No. 5. That kicked off a hot closing stretch, as she played the final five holes in 4 under.
Yin, who played in Kang's group, overcame back-to-back bogeys with three straight birdies to finish her round.
McDonald closed with an even more impressive streak, birdieing her final four holes after sitting at 1 under through 14 holes.
Defending champion Sei Young Kim and world No. 1 Jin Young Ko, both of South Korea, are not in the field this week.
--Field Level Media