PRATTVILLE, Ala. — Lexi Thompson made a little more history Thursday in the Navistar LPGA Classic, opening her title defense with a career-best 9-under-par 63 to match the tournament record and take a two-stroke lead.
Last year, Thompson became the youngest champion in LPGA Tour history at age 16, winning by five strokes. Fifteen-year-old amateur Lydia Ko broke the record in August in the Canadian Women’s Open.
Thompson had nine birdies in her bogey-free round on the links-style Senator course at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail’s Capitol Hill complex.
She missed only one green in regulation and had 26 putts.
“It feels really good getting a first round of 63 under my belt, but you just have to take it one shot at a time,” Thompson said. “Can’t get ahead of yourself in this game, so just going to hope to play like I did today for the next three rounds.”
Mika Miyazato and Lindsey Wright shot 63 in the 2010 event. Thompson’s previous best score on the LPGA Tour was 65 in the final round of the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic.
She missed a birdie putt on the 18th hole by about 6 inches.
“I wasn’t thinking about the course record, I was just trying to put a good stroke on it like every other putt,” she said.
Lizette Salas and Hee Young Park are tied for second at 65.
Top-ranked Yani Tseng and Michelle Wie are eight strokes behind at 71.
Following the pattern she set last year en route to her lone tour victory, Thompson had breakfast at Waffle House down the street from the course. The plate of egg whites, wheat toast, hash browns and bacon was prepared specially by Thompson’s favorite cook, Valerie Perry.
WEB.COM TOUR: In Midland, Texas, 2010 Web.com Tour Player of the Year Jamie Lovemark shot 6-under-par 66 to share the lead with Aaron Goldberg after the first round of the WNB Golf Classic at Midland Country Club.
Luke List, the runner-up in the 2004 U.S. Amateur, Tim Wilkinson and Andres Gonzales are tied for second a shot back.
Former Georgia golfer Erik Compton and former Oklahoma State standout Morgan Hoffman are among seven players tied for sixth at 68.
Aiken native Matt Hendrix opened with 70 and is tied for 26th, while Augusta’s Scott Parel shot 73 and is tied for 80th.