Phatlum Steps up in Portland

Pornanong Phatlum fired an 8-under 64 to take a one-stroke lead over Lexi Thompson after the first round of the 72-hole Safeway Classic. The $1.3 million LPGA Tour event is taking place at Columbia Edgewater Country Club in Portland, Ore.

The 23-year-old Phatlum, a native of Thailand, carded 10 birdies and two bogeys Thursday for a one-stroke lead over the 18-year-old Thompson and two over Germany's Sandra Gal and Americans Cristie Kerr and Lizette Salas.

Phatlum was pleased with her work on the 1925-opened, A.V. Macan-designed course along the Columbia River.

"Putting was so good," said Phatlum. "I changed putter for this week and feeling very good. And I made many birdies today, like 10 birdies today . . . I just try my best and I'm feeling very good with the course. I like the course, very nice."

No. 1 Inbee Park of South Korea withdrew before the start of the tournament because of flu-like symptoms. No. 11 Paula Creamer pulled out before the start of the first round, citing personal reasons.

No. 2-ranked Stacy Lewis, shot with a 67, joining 13 others for a share of sixth. "I felt great," said Lewis, who pulled out of last week's Canadian Women's Open in Edmonton because she wasn't feeling well. "I felt like a different person out there from last week. Just being focused and I knew what my game plan was. I felt great out there."

Last year when the tournament was held at Pumpkin Ridge's Ghost Creek course west of Portland, Mika Miyazato got her first LPGA Tour win. The 23-year-old from Japan started the defense of her title with a 1-undder 71.

The shot of the day was recorded by Natalie Gulbis, who had a hole-in-one on the 166-yard second hole. Hitting a 6-iron, her tee shot bounced once and rolled into the cup. The 30-year-old carded a 68.

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