The US’ Stacy Lewis birdied five holes on the back nine on Friday en route to a five-under 67 that gave her a one-shot lead in the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic.
Lewis, who won the Kraft Nabisco championship last year, arrived at the 18th with a two-shot lead after making three birdies in a row, but she missed a five-footer for par.
Despite the blemish, she had a nine-under par total of 135, one stroke in front of four players sharing second on 136.
Sweden’s Karin Sjodin fired a course record-equaling 64 on The Crossings layout to join the group at eight-under, which also included South Korea’s US Open champion So Yeon-ryu (67), Sydnee Michaels (68) and Australian Lindsey Wright (69).
Sjodin’s best finish on the LPGA tour is a fourth-placed tie at the Kraft Nabisco championship earlier this month.
France’s Karine Icher and South Korean Chella Choi both posted 65s to join a group on seven-under 137 that also included Brittany Lincicome, South Korean Sun Young-yoo and Colombia’s Mariajo Uribe.
Lewis said her score owed more to consistency than anything spectacular, although she did roll in a 20-footer for birdie at 17.
Wright, playing in the one of the late groups, pulled within a shot of the lead, but could not find a birdie in her last 11 holes.
Wright, who teed off on 10, finished with three birdies and no bogeys.
Three players who shared the overnight lead with Wright faded. Jennifer Rosales carded an even-par 72 that left her four shots adrift, while Sweden’s Caroline Hedwall signed for a 73 and Katie Futcher a 77.