CHICAGO-American Christina Kim fired an eight-under par 64 to seize a one-stroke lead over Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn after Thursday’s first round of the LPGA Volvik Championship.

The 32-year-old Californian made seven birdies and an eagle against a lone bogey in the debut event at Ann Arbor, Michigan, to grab the lead. “It’s just a matter of being patient and not being necessarily too aggressive,” Kim said. “There are certain holes where I was like, ‘I can walk away with a par and I’ll be fine with that.’ Several par 5s were reachable, which I thought was a nice change to most of the tournaments we play on the LPGA Tour.”

Kim seeks her fourth career LPGA victory and her first since the 2014 Lorena Ochoa Invitational. She also won the 2004 Longs Drugs Challenge and 2005 Tournament of Champions. Ariya fired seven birdies in a bogey-free round to stay on Kim’s heels as she began her bid for a third consecutive victory, having taken the Yokohama Tire Classic and Kingsmill Championship earlier this month for the first LPGA titles won by a Thai player.

“For her, it was just a matter of breaking the shell and getting over that first hump and getting that first win,” Kim said of Ariya. “She is going to be just an absolute world beater. Hopefully Ariya will soon be the kind of golfer that we all see her as, which is terrifying.”  A victory this week would make Ariya the first LPGA player to win three events in a row since South Korean Park In-Bee in 2013.

Kim, who began on the back nine, birdied the 13th and eagled the par-5 14th, then answered a bogey at the par-3 16th with a birdie at 18. She followed with birdies at the first and second holes, back-to-back birdies at the fifth and sixth and a last birdie at eight in firing her lowest round in two years, one off the course record. “All I can do is continue to try and play my best and at the end of the day as long as I can go home exhausted knowing that I’ve tried everything that I could to play a good round, then that’s all I can do,” Kim said.

Ariya, who also started on the 10th tee, birdied the 13th and 15th holes and then made back-to-back birdies at the par-5 18th and first and again at the fifth and par-5 sixth before making a final birdie at eight.

 “A little bit windy on the back nine and I just have to control my ball flight and my tee shot pretty good,” Ariya said. “I made some putts. It’s very hard to read the green here because a lot of slope.”

Australia’s Minjee Lee and South Korea’s Ryu So-Yeon shared third on 68 with a pack on 69 including Japan’s Sakura Yokomine, Spain’s Azahara Munoz, Canada’s Samantha Richie and American Sadena Parks.