Lexi Thompson tips her cap and smiles after completing play on the 18th green during the first round of the Navistar LPGA Classic golf tournament, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012, at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Prattville, Ala. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
PRATTVILLE, Ala. — Lexi Thompson made a little more history Thursday in the Navistar LPGA Classic, opening her title defense with a career-best 9-under 63 to match the tournament record.
Last year, Thompson became the youngest champion in LPGA Tour history at age 16, winning by five strokes. Fifteen-year-old amateur Lydia Ko broke the record last month in the Canadian Women's Open.
Thompson had nine birdies in her bogey-free round on the links-style Senator course at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail's Capitol Hill complex. She missed only one green in regulation and had 26 putts.
"It feels really good getting a first round of 63 under my belt, but you just have to take it one shot at a time," Thompson said. "Can't get ahead of yourself in this game, so just going to hope to play like I did today for the next three rounds."
Mika Miyazato and Lindsey Wright shot 63 in the 2010 event. Thompson's previous best score on the LPGA Tour was a 65 in the final round of the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic.
She missed a birdie putt on the 18th hole by about 6 inches.
"I wasn't thinking about the course record, I was just trying to put a good stroke on it like every other putt," she said.
Lizette Salas and Hee Young Park were tied for second at 65, and third-ranked Stacy Lewis was another stroke back along with Karen Stupples, Amanda Blumenherst, Wendy Ward and Mi Hyang Lee.
Top-ranked Yani Tseng and Michelle Wie were eight strokes behind at 71.
Following the pattern she set last year en route to her lone tour victory, Thompson had breakfast at Waffle House down the street from the course. The plate if egg whites, wheat toast, hash browns and bacon was prepared specially by Thompson's favorite cook, Valerie Perry.
"Well Valerie, she's the main cook there and she sings, so it keeps me relaxed, keeps me laughing before my round," Thompson said. "It's a good atmosphere. ... She sings Justin Bieber 'Baby' pretty good, but puts 'bacon' instead of `baby.' It's pretty funny."