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Thompson, Ji share first-round Mobile Bay LPGA lead

The SportsXchange

MOBILE, Ala. -- Lexi Thompson picked up where she left off in the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic.

The 18-year-old Floridian shot a 7-under-par 65 in the tournament's first round on Thursday to match her final round in the 2012 event at Magnolia Grove and was tied for the lead with Eun-Hee Ji of South Korea.

Last year's closing 65 left Thompson one stroke short of Stacy Lewis' winning tournament total of 17 under par.

"I definitely had it in mind," Thompson said of 2012. "But, you know, it's a whole different year and a new day. I was just going to try to go out and make some birdies. I knew my game was good, so I was just going to try to keep that going.

"It's very important to get off to a good start. I haven't had the best of first days, so to get this one under my belt at 7 under is really important. So I'm just going to try to do what I did today for the next three days and, hopefully, see where it goes."

Thompson teed off in the morning and posted a round that included eight birdies and one bogey. Ji, a former U.S. Women's Open champion, had a bogey-free round with seven birdies in the afternoon.

Jessica Korda was alone at 6-under 66 after a bogey-free round that included four birdies on par-4 and two on par-5 holes.

In a group of seven players at 5-under 67 was Jennifer Johnson, who holed out her fairway shot on the par-4 ninth for a round-ending eagle. Johnson played her last seven holes in 5 under.

Also at 5 under were Nicole Castrale, Mina Harigae, Dewi Claire Schreefel, Thidapa Suwannapura, Hee Young Park and Chella Choi.

Lewis opened with a 2-under 70 that included two bogeys and a double bogey on her final hole, when she had to re-hit her tee shot.

"I didn't really have anything go right today," the world's second-ranked player said. "I had one ball hit the sprinkler and go in the trees and one hit the cart path and go into the trees.

"Just kind of got some bad breaks with lies and really just didn't have any bounces go my way. So I guess to shoot what I did was pretty good."
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