Ji & Thompson Set Pace in Mobile

Eun-Hee Ji of South Korea and American Lexi Thompson both shot 7-under 65s to take the first-round lead in the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic.

The 72-hole, $1.2 million tournament began Thursday at The Crossings Course at Magnolia Grove - a stop on Alabama's Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail - in Mobile.

The 27-year-old Ji, a two-time LPGA Tour winner - including the 2009 U.S. Women's Open - carded seven birdies and the rest pars. Thompson, an 18-year-old from Coral Springs, Fla., and a one-time winner on Tour, had eight birdies and a bogey to match's Ji's score.

One stroke back is another American youngster, 20-year-old Jessica Korda, and two behind the leaders are Americans Nicole Castrale, Mina Harigae and Jennifer Johnson, South Koreans Chella Choi and Hee Young Park, The Netherlands' Dewi Claire Schreefel and Thidapa Suwannapura of Thailand.

Thompson was pleased with how her tournament began. "It's very important to get off to a good start," she said.

"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."

Nine players opened with 68s, while a passel of others posted 69s.

Defending champion Stacy Lewis, who's seeking her third straight victory on one of the RTJ Trail courses and the defending champion, shot a 70.

For complete scoring details, visit www.lpga.com.