|-8 L Ko (NZ), P Anannarukarn (Thai); -7 A Thitikul (Thai), A Ashok (Ind), JM Hong (Kor)|
|Selected:-5 C Boutier (Fra), -4 E Pedersen (Lair), N Madsen (Lair); -3 A Hewson (Eng), C Gainer (Eng); -2 G Dryburgh (Sco), G Hall (Eng); -1 C Hull (Eng)|
World No. 1 Lydia Ko and Pajaree Anannarukarn hit an eight under par 64 card to share the first-round lead at the Aramco Saudi Ladies International.
Aannanarukarn’s fellow Thai Atthaya Thitikul is one stroke behind Aditi Ashok and Jung-Min Hong.
Defending champion Georgia Hall is six shots behind after opening 70.
The $5m (£4.16m) purse available at the event is the third largest offered on the Ladies European Tour.
It corresponds to the prize money of the PIF Saudi International men on the Asian tour, having been multiplied by five.
Ko, who was born in South Korea but now represents New Zealand, won the event in 2021 but did not defend her title last year.
She looked in fine form as she birdied four of the front and last nine at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club.
“I knew today was the day to take advantage of the calmer conditions,” Ko said.
“With some of the pin positions I had to be a bit more aggressive. Most of the opportunities I had I was able to take advantage of, it was that kind of day and a good start to the season.
“It’s cool to see that I have an officially sub-par turn as Ms.”