Birdie blitz sees Lewis lead

Lewis was two-under after six holes when play was suspended because of darkness on the opening day, with the world No 3 beginning Friday with a bogey at the par-four seventh.

The American responded with seven gains from her next nine holes, including three in a row from the eighth, to sign for an eight-under 64 and pull one stroke clear of??South Korea’s Hyo Joo Kim.

“It was just solid,” Lewis said. “The golf course is in such good shape, you get some putts around the hole, you can definitely make them. Just hit a few close. I hit a 4-iron into about 6 inches, so that always helps.”

Top-ranked Lydia Ko, Tiffany Joh, Sophia Popov, Kim Kaufman and Karine Icher shot 66, with Icher playing her final 11 holes early Friday morning.??

Ko produced a round of seven birdies and one bogey to extend her run of breaking par to 21-straight LPGA Tour rounds, although admits her score could have been even lower.??

The 17-year-old is looking to extend her recent impressive form and go one better than last year’s display at Desert Ridge, where Ko squandered a three-stroke lead with 13 holes left and ended tying for second. ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ????

“I wasn’t surprised Lydia shot what she did,” Lewis said. “It just kind of motivated me to get up there with her.??If you’ve got to play a lot of holes and you’re on a roll, that’s where you want to be.”

Karrie Webb, Founders Cup champion in 2011, posted a “solid” five-under 67 playing alongside Lewis, telling reporters:??”I feel like 5 under is perhaps the worst I could have shot, so that’s always a nice thing to say. I felt very comfortable out there.”