Lexi Thompson and Meena Lee sit atop the leaderboard after one round of action in Pittsford, New York, at the 2014 LPGA Championship.
As is the case with most golf tournaments, Thursday's action at Monroe Golf Club was fierce and did little to separate most of the field as things head into the weekend.
The tournament itself is down some major star power with Michelle Wie sidelined, per ESPN.com's Mechelle Voepel, but Thompson, who beat out Wie for a major championship this season, is leading the way and gives fans plenty of reason to watch.
Below is a look at the top of the leaderboard, with a breakdown of the day's top competitors after the jump.
Day 1 Leaderboard
Perhaps one of the biggest storylines entering Thursday's round was the state of American women's golf after a triumph by U.S. players in each of the first three majors this year, a subject touched on by world No. 1, Stacy Lewis, per USA Today's Steve DiMeglio:
The whole year has been great for Americans [in] golf, not just in the majors. It shows where we're going and we're going in the right direction. We have young talent and some girls who needed to get some wins in majors, and that helps.
[...] More than anything it's great for the tour. It's great for sponsors and selling our brand. And it's great for the fans. I think we're getting more people following us again because we're playing well.
The last time Americans won each major was 1992, but they are off to an encouraging start so far in New York.
Lewis herself had a bit of a ho-hum start to the tournament, shooting six birdies and five bogeys, three of which came consecutively to finish the day and sit her at one under par.
But Lewis' foreshadowing proved wise on Thursday, as 12 Americans placed in front of her on the scoreboard, including the 19-year-old Thompson.
She was impressive, to say the least. A set of bogeys stick out on the scorecard, but Thompson countered the blemishes with eight birdies to rest at six under. She averaged a superb 269.50 driving distance and connected on 16 of 18 greens in regulation.
LPGA's Twitter account captured her post-round reaction:
Thompson is on the hunt for her second major after her triumph at the Kraft Nabisco Championship back in April, an experience she says has helped her already Thursday.
“Getting that Kraft Nabisco win has helped me out so much,” Thompson said, per Golfchannel.com's Randall Mell. “Just pulling it off that Sunday, being relaxed and staying with it one shot at a time, gave me a lot of confidence going into every other tournament after that, especially majors.”
Lee matched Thompson every step of the way, though, shooting the exact same amount of birdies and bogeys on the day but connecting on just 13 greens in regulation. She shot birdies on three of her last five holes to finish strong.
Brittany Lincicome, Lisa McCloskey and Jennifer Kirby rest one shot back after impressive outings. McCloskey was especially impressive after an opening-hole bogey, rattling off eight birdies, but bogeyed the last two holes to close the day.
A flurry of past champs are within striking distance after the first round, too. Shanshan Feng of China, who won it all two years ago, sits tied for sixth at 68. Cristie Kerr, the 2010 champion, shares the mark.
South Korea's Inbee Park, the No. 3 player in the world, won it all a year ago but sits dead even after a pair of birdies and bogeys. Golf Central shares why it is not a great idea to count her out just yet, though:
Want a great story to watch all weekend?
Rookie Emma Jandel qualified for the tournament upon Wie's withdraw and now sits just three shots off the lead after six birdies and three bogeys, two of which came on her final holes of the day. She connected on 12 of 14 fairways and 12 of 18 greens, suggesting the new spotlight is not a detriment to her play.
Storylines abound in New York after just one day, even in Wie's absence. Fans will want to stick around all weekend to see if a U.S. player can take home the top prize to keep their dominant run alive. Given how things stand now, it might just be a rookie alternate who raises the hardware when it is all said and done.
Note: All statistics courtesy of LPGAscoring.com.