Gaby Lopez opened with an 8-under 63 to take the early lead at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship.
The former Arkansas Razorback carded six birdies on the out nine to turn in 30 and added two more gains coming in for a low-round 63.
“The golf course is in great shape, the whole environment plays with me instead of against me,” said Lopez.
“I’ve been working on basic stuff with my coach, Horacio Morales, that makes a big difference.”
Mirim Lee, Lizette Salas, Aditi Ashok, and Moriya Jutanugarn each signed for a score of 7-under 64 to set the early mark in Arkansas.
Minjee Lee, Catriona Matthew, and Nasa Hataoka joined the T2 group via the afternoon wave.
Ashok, a 20-year old Indian star, credited her comfort with Pinnacle Country Club, for her impressive play in Friday’s first round.
“I think I just like this golf course a lot. I was comfortable from the start. I started off with two birdies and then I kept hitting good iron shots to the green so I had a lot of birdie chances,” said Ashok, who shot 64 here last season as well.
“So yeah, I mean, I putted pretty good today, but I still feel like I left a couple out there. As long as I give myself enough birdie putts on this course, I think I’ll be able to shoot low ones.
Six more players were T9, including Sandra Changkija, who posted an early 65 on Friday.
Some 15 more players were one further back at 5 under, including Arkansas grad Stacy Lewis. ANA winner Pernilla Lindberg, Brittany Lincicome, and Lydia Ko, among others, were also at 66.
TOP 10: ROUND ONE
1. Gaby Lopez -8
2. Aditi Ashok -7
2. Mirim Lee -7
2. Lizette Salas -7
2. Moriya Jutanugarn -7
2. Minjee Lee -7
2. Catriona Matthew -7
2. Nasa Hataoka -7
9. Sandra Changkija -6
9. Hyo Joo Kim -6
9. Austin Ernst -6
9. Brittany Marchand -6
9. Mo Martin -6
9. Brittany Altomare -6
“It’s always easier, I feel, the second year on Tour. Like this golf course, I know it a lot better than I did last year. I think I shot 64 here twice, so I think I really like it so I’m going to look forward to the next two days.”
– Aditi Ashok