Lexi Thompson makes fast start to final Women’s PGA Championship

Lexi Thompson took a one-shot lead as she fired a four-under-par 68 in the opening round of the Women’s PGA Championship.

Thompson, who is retiring from full-time golf on the LPGA Tour at the end of the season, made three straight birdies to start her round at the Sahalee Country Club in Washington state.

She added three more to open a one-shot lead over Nelly Korda and Thailand’s Patty Tavatanakit.

Charley Hull was among those a shot further back alongside Ireland’s Leona Maguire, with England’s Jodi Ewart Shadoff on even par, two better than Georgia Hall, with Bronte Law a further stroke adrift.

Yuka Saso, who won the US Open three weeks ago, was among those on 74 after four consecutive bogeys on the back nine.

After finishing runner-up last week, Thompson shrugged off suggestions her retirement announcement had prompted an upturn in form.

“I don’t think that has to do with announcing what I did,” she said. “It’s just a matter of being comfortable out there, playing free-swing Lexi I guess. Just enjoying being out there every step of the way.

“I’m just taking it one day at a time. I made my announcement. I’m very content with it.

Womens PGA Championship Golf
Charley Hull, of England, watches her shot on the 18th hole (Gerald Herbert/AP)

“Golf is a crazy game, so I’m not going to look too far ahead. Just taking it one day at a time and see where it takes me.”

Korda missed her last two cuts – having opened with an 80 at the US Open – after winning six of her previous seven starts.

“I’ve seen a lot of first-hand rollercoasters happen in people’s careers,” she said.

“I just know that if you stay positive and in your own bubble, you can bounce back. You work hard, you know what you got inside of you, and you just got to go out and execute it.”

Hull battled stomach cramps and waiting for her clubs to arrive in the build-up to the tournament.

“I didn’t feel the best, but I woke up this morning and felt fine and played all right, so there you go,” she said.