Naples: Three birdies in a five-hole run in the middle of the round enabled India's Aditi Ashok to get to a start of 2-under 70 in the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship on the LPGA.
Aditi, who had a fine run in the first half of the season, before tapering off somewhat is tied 32nd after the first round.
She is seven shots behind the first round leader, Nasa Hataoka, a six-time LPGA Tour, and Ruoning Yin, a two-time winner in 2023. The two leaders carded 63 each.
Rain measuring more than four inches in Naples a day ahead of the first round saw softer fairways and shortened holes at Tiburón Golf Club.
The 63s from Hataoka and Yin was just one birdie away from tying the 18-hole scoring record of 62 set by Lydia Ko in 2016.
Aditi, who came close to her first win on the LPGA at the JM Eagle Championships earlier this year, had five birdies against three bogeys.
Despite bogeys on the second and the fourth, Aditi worked her way up with five birdies to be 3-under after 17 before dropping a shot on 18th.
Her play was steady enough as she found 12 of the 14 fairways and 14 of the 18 greens in regulation and needed 29 putts with some putts stopping short.
Hataoka was the first to claim her spot at the top after going bogey-free with nine birdies. The Japanese golfer only needed one hole before stepping on the gas with three-straight birdies from the second.
Two more birdies on Nos. 6 and 8 set her up at 5-under at the turn. She started off the back nine holes with back-to-back and added more on 13 and 17 to take the lead.
Yin started with early birdies on second and third before firing off three in a row to end her front nine on holes from the sixth.
At 5-under heading into the back, Yin added another birdie on the 12th and then there were back-to-back birdies on 14 and 15 and a final one on 17 to tie Hataoka atop the rest of the field.
Three-time Tour winner Minjee Lee sunk a 10-foot birdie putt on No. 18 to put her into solo third at 64 and ahead of Anna Nordqvist (65).
Five players round out the top five, with Georgia Hall, Alison Lee, Hye-Jin Choi, Yu Liu and Patty Tavatanakit all shooting 6-under 66s.