Karrie Webb has some work to do to snare an eighth career major after opening with a one-over-par 73 at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
A two-time winner of the event, and a two-time winner already this year, Webb is seven shots behind China’s first-round leader Feng Shanshan.
Feng fired a six-under 66 on Thursday to take an outright one-stroke lead at the first major of the LPGA season.
South Korean Hall-of-Famer Pak Se-Ri was tied for second with American Michelle Wie on five-under 67.
South Korean Amy Yang and teenaged amateur Angel Yin of the United States shared fourth place on four-under 68, while South Korean Shin Ji-Yai, American Cristie Kerr and Jenny Rosales of the Philippines were tied on 69.
World No.1 and defending champion Park In-Bee, who launched her remarkable run of three straight major titles in 2013 with victory in this event, struggled to a two-over 74 that left her tied for 46th.
Feng, playing in benign morning conditions in the California desert near Palm Springs, had seven birdies and one bogey on the Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Mission Hills Country Club.
Things were clicking so well for Feng that she said she found the pin positions easy, although others, including Park, thought they were very challenging for a first round.
“Maybe I was just being lucky,” Feng said. “Sometimes I think luck is part of your game.”
Feng, whose three LPGA titles include a major victory at the 2012 LPGA Championship, is rounding into form after a slow start to her season. She said some work on her putting with coach Gary Gilchrist this week was paying off.
Feng said she also benefitted from some advice from three-time Kraft Nabisco winner Amy Alcott.
Feng played her opening round with the 58-year-old Alcott, and the 24-year-old said Alcott shared some secrets.
“Before this year, I never did well here, so she was telling me the secrets (but) don’t ask me what the secrets are, because they are secrets,” Feng said.
“I did learn a lot from her. I was really focusing on my game, but at the same time watching how she deals with the tough shots.”
Pak is also seeking the secret. She has won five major titles, but never the Kraft Nabisco.
Wie’s round was highlighted by an eagle at the par-five 11th, her only bogey coming at the par-three 17th.