McDonald leads ANA Inspiration

American golfer Ally McDonald

Ally McDonald set the early pace at the opening major tournament of the LPGA Tour season.

American Ally McDonald earned a one-stroke lead after the opening round at the ANA Inspiration.

McDonald carded a four-under-par 68 on day one of the first major tournament of the LPGA Tour season.

The 26-year-old set the early pace in Rancho Mirage, California on Thursday – holing seven birdies to outweigh her three bogeys.

McDonald ended the round ahead of 2014 champion Lexi Thompson, world number five Ko Jin-young, Kim Hyo-joo and Linnea Strom at Mission Hills Country Club.

Lydia Ko – who won the tournament in 2016 – is two shots off the pace, alongside Lauren Stephenson, Lizette Salas, Jessica Korda, Cristie Kerr, Amy Yang, Jane Park, Lin Xiyu, Yan Jing and Lee Mi-hyang.

Meanwhile, defending champion Pernilla Lindberg posted a 73 to be one over heading into the second round.

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