Hyo Joo Kim lost a chance to finish with sole possession of first place after a bogey on the final hole and ended up tied for the first-round lead with fellow South Korean Mirim Lee and Haru Nomura of Japan at 5-under-par 66 in the LPGA Marathon Classic on Thursday in Sylvania, Ohio.
Kim, who turned 21 on Thursday, moved to the top of the leaderboard with four birdies in a six-hole stretch during her second nine at Highland Meadows.
"Last night, it was raining, so it's little bit more softer green," said Kim, a winner at the season-opening tournament in the Bahamas. "I hit good shots, a lot of good shots, good drives, good putts, but on the last hole I missed a putt. ... I'm not complaining about any shot today."
Nomura started the round with a par and then birdied the next four holes to reach 4 under. After two bogeys, she added three birdies to get to 5 under.
"Today par-putter is good," said Nomura, who won the Women's Australian Open in February for her first LPGA Tour title and then won the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic in April in California.
Lee made the turn at 1 under after three birdies and two bogeys but posted four birdies on the back nine to claim a share of the lead.
Tied at 4 under were Kelly Shon, Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand and Celine Herbin of France.
"I played pretty good," said Jutanugarn, who reeled off three straight wins in May.
A large group at 3 under included top-ranked Kydia Ko and second-ranked Brooke Henderson, an 18-year-old Canadian who beat Ko in a playoff earlier this year to win the KPMG Women's PGA. Ko birdied her final two holes to finish with a 68.
"Hopefully, I'll have a few more birdies tomorrow," said Ko, the 19-year-old from New Zealand who tied for third last week in the U.S. Women's Open. "It's a solid start."