Lydia Ko made it look easy again at the Vancouver Golf Club making birdie on three of her final four holes to shoot a 67 and put herself in contention at the Canadian Women`s Open.
The 18-year-old world number two seized the early clubhouse lead and finished Thursday just two strokes back of first-round leader Karine Icher, of France, who shot a seven-under 65 in the afternoon.
"It`s a really solid start," said New Zealand`s Ko, who is alone in second. "I had the same score the last time I was here."
Not only did she have the same score when the tournament was played in Vancouver in 2012 but she went on to win the event as a 15-year-old amateur.
"Hopefully this will give me good momentum for the next couple of days," said Ko, who is a two-time champion in the tournament having also won two years ago when it was hosted by Royal Mayfair Golf Club in Edmonton.
The 36-year-old Icher is seeking her first victory on the LPGA Tour and her first internationally in a decade.
Stacy Lewis, Danah Bordner, South Korea`s Kim In-Kyung, and Sweden`s Pernilla Lindberg shared third place at 68.
A half dozen players were tied for seventh at 69, comprising American Amy Anderson, Taiwan`s Candie Kung, England`s Charley Hull, Sweden`s Anna Nordquist and South Korean`s Kim Sei-Young and Jang Ha-Na.
Ko`s victory at age 15 made her the LPGA Tour`s youngest champion. Ko, of Auckland, has continued to improve each year and has two victories in 2015.
She countered two bogeys with two birdies on her first seven holes in the first round before adding five birdies the rest of the way.
Icher owns five victories on the Ladies European Tour, but none since the 2005 Catalonia Ladies Masters.
Five birdies in a six-hole stretch -- including four in a row from No. 8 through No. 11 -- highlighted Icher`s bogey-free round. Icher made par on each of the final seven holes.
Brooke Henderson, a 17-year-old Canadian who was granted LPGA Tour membership after winning the Portland Classic last weekend, opened with a 70.
Henderson began her round with a birdie then added back-to-back birdies on the back nine at number 13 and the par-four 14th. She capped her solid round with four straight pars.
World number one Park In-Bee, who is coming off a win in the Women`s British Open, posted an opening-round 71.