Yuka Saso of the Philippines carded a 2-under 69 for a strong Round 1 at the US Women's Open on Thursday (US time).
Saso, who finished sixth at the Lotte Championship in April, was 2 shots behind co-leaders Mel Reid of England and 17-year-old high-school student Megha Ganne at San Francisco's Olympic Club.
The reigning Asian Games champion, who notched 4 birdies and a pair of bogeys, was joint sixth with Shanshan Feng of China and American Lexi Thompson.
Reid and American amateur Ganne kept their putters hot amid chilly conditions to card matching 67 and sit tied for the lead.
Reid, who went out as part of the morning wave amid dense coastal fog, carded 5 birdies and a bogey to take a 1-stroke clubhouse lead at 4-under early on at the major.
Her lead appeared safe until Ganne came out of nowhere in the sunnier afternoon to put on a putting clinic of her own.
Ganne pulled into a share of the lead with a birdie on the par-3 15th and took the lead on the next hole with her sixth birdie of the day on the par-five 16th.
But an errant tee shot on her final hole found the rough and the ensuing bogey dropped her back into a share of the lead.
Ganne, who played in the tournament 2 years ago as a 15-year-old, said taming her nerves was key to her success.
"I think the first time is nerve-racking for anybody — meeting your idols and being on the stage for the first time," she said.
"But the second time around, even the practice rounds, I wasn't as nervous."
Brooke Henderson (68) looked set to finish tied for the lead but three-putted the last for a bogey, dropping into a share of third with Angel Yin and Megan Khang at 3 under.
Defending champion Kim A-lim was not so lucky, the South Korean limping home with an eight-over 79.
Leading scores after Round 1 on Thursday (USA unless noted, a-denotes amateur, par-71):
67 - Mel Reid (ENG), a-Megha Ganne
68 - Angel Yin, Megan Khang, Brooke Henderson (CAN)
69 - YUKA SASO (PHILIPPINES), Feng Shanshan (CHN), Lexi Thompson
70 - Ko Jin-young (KOR) Marina Alex, Austin Ernst, Jennifer Kupcho, Lee6 Jeong-eun (KOR), Wichanee Meechai (THA), Lauren Stephenson
71 - Mina Harigae, a-Gurleen Kaur, Luna Sobron Galmes (ESP), Ariya Jutanugarn (THA), Ally Ewing, Madelene Sagstrom (SWE), a-Maja Stark (SWE), Lydia Ko (NZL), Park In-bee (KOR), Emily Kristine Pedersen (DEN)
FROM THE ARCHIVES: