Lydia Ko battled her putter for much of her opening round 70 to start the ANA Inspiration major in California.
The teenage world No 1 birdied the last hole to be three shots adrift of early leader Ai Miyazato who was five under par around the Mission Hills country club course.
"My putting wasn't very good," Ko said. "I gave myself a few good looks for birdies. There were some I put on the right line then it was a foot short or just short."
Ko called it a solid start and hoped to sort out her speed on the greens for her afternoon tee time in the second round.
She was pleased not to be hounded with questions about record streaks as she was a year ago when she was challenging Annika Sorenstam's consecutive run of sub-par rounds.
Ko ended 2015 with her debut major title in the Evian Championship and the ANA was the first of five majors the players would challenge this season.
"I've just got to have fun and that is the big key for me in any event, just enjoy to it.
"Sometimes I am going to have average days and those days I just laugh it off and go hey there's another round it's not the end of the world.
Ko was one under after nine and repeated that on her second nine after a mixed collection of three birdies and two bogeys.
Other players nibbling at the lead are Catriona Matthew, Lee-Anne Pace and Shiho Oyama who all shot four under par rounds of 68.
Defending champion Brittany Lincicome and the 2014 champion Levi Thompson have yet to tee off in their afternoon pairing.