Lydia Ko, of New Zealand, hits from the fairway on the sixth hole during the first round of the LPGA Tour ANA Inspiration golf tournament at Mission Hills Country Club, Thursday, March 31, 2016 in Rancho Mirage, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Chris Carlson
March 31, 2016

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. (AP) Ai Miyazato birdied four of the first six holes and shot a 5-under 67 in perfect morning conditions Thursday to take the early lead in the ANA Inspiration.

Miyazato closed with a birdie on the par-5 18th at Mission Hills to pull a stroke ahead of fellow Japanese player Shiho Oyama, Scotland's Catriona Matthew and South Africa's Lee-Anne Pace after the morning session.

Miyazato is coming off a third-place finish Sunday in the Kia Classic in Carlsbad, the nine-time LPGA Tour winner's first top-10 finish since 2013.

Top-ranked Lydia Ko and Michelle Wie shot 70. Ko won at Carlsbad.

Second-ranked Inbee Park, No. 3 Lexi Thompson and No. 4 Stacy Lewis - all past winners in the first major championship of the year - played in the afternoon.

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