PORTLAND, Ore. — Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum shot an 8-under 64 on Thursday to take a one-stroke lead over Lexi Thompson after the first round of the Safeway Classic.
The 23-year-old Phatlum, winless in five seasons on the LPGA Tour, had 10 birdies and two bogeys in her afternoon round at rain-softened Columbia Edgewater. The start of play was delayed an hour, and players were allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls because of the wet conditions.
“Putting was so good,” said Phatlum, the winner of the unofficial LPGA Brazil Cup in 2012. “I changed putter for this week and feeling very good.”
The 18-year-old Thompson eagled the par-5 seventh hole — her 16th hole of the day — and had five birdies in her bogey-free morning round. She won the 2011 Navistar LPGA Classic for her lone tour title.
“I would say just my iron shots into the green,” Thompson said about her strongest play Thursday.
Christie Kerr, the winner in 2008 the last time the event was played at Columbia Edgewater, was at 66 along with Lizette Salas and Germany’s Sandra Gal.
Hall of Famers Juli Inkster and Se Ri Pak also were in the large group at 67 that included Michelle Wie, Yani Tseng and Ai Miyazato. The 53-year-old Inkster won the last of her 31 tour titles in 2006.
Natalie Gulbis had a hole-in-one on the second hole and finished with a 68. She used a 6-iron on the 166-yard hole, with the ball bouncing once and falling in. She has seven aces in competition and 14 overall.