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Thompson begins Navistar title defense with 63

Lexi Thompson at the 2012 Kia Classic
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Lexi Thompson is well on her way to showing that last year's Navistar LPGA Classic was no fluke.

Thompson, who a year ago won her first career LPGA title here by five shots at age 16, fired a 9-under-par 63 in Thursday's opening round to lead the field be two strokes.

Her round included nine birdies and nine pars, as Thompson missed a single green in regulation and needed only 26 putts to complete her round on the Senator Course at Capitol Hill.

Thompson leads by two strokes over Lizette Salas and Hee Young Park; current Rolex Player of the Year leader Stacy Lewis is among a group three shots behind the lead after opening with a 6-under-par 66.

Clearly, Thompson enjoys playing in the state of Alabama. In addition to her win in Prattville last year, she was runner-up to Lewis at the nearby Mobile Bay LPGA Classic in April, her best result of 2012 to date. Her win here last year made her the youngest-ever LPGA champion at 16 years old, a mark that was eclipsed earlier this summer when 15-year-old amateur Lydia Ko captured the CN Canadian Women's Open.