Karrie Webb birdied six holes to shoot a six-under 66 and take a one-stroke lead after the opening round of the HSBC Women's Champions.
Sweden's Caroline Hedwall and American Paula Creamer were tied for second after shooting five-under 67, a stroke ahead of 2012 champion Angela Stanford and Taiwan's Teresa Lu in joint fourth.
The 39-year-old Webb is having a strong start to the season. A week after the ill-fated Australian Ladies Masters, she won her fifth Women's Australian Open title, and 40th overall.
Webb has won seven majors in her long career, but none since the Kraft Nabisco Championship in 2006. Her results have been consistent, if not dominant, in recent years - she had six top-10 finishes on the LPGA Tour last year and one win at the ShopRite LPGA Classic.
"I've had a good career and I feel like I want to finish in the fashion that I started,'' she said. "I just continue to work hard, and my working hard now is probably a little different to my working hard 20 years ago, but it's still working hard.''
Webb birdied four of her first six holes on Thursday, then sank a difficult 15-foot putt to save par on the par-4 11th hole. Her only mistake on the green was a close miss on the 12th hole when her birdie putt from two feet lipped out of the hole.
Fourteen-year-old Singaporean Amanda Tan won a qualifying tournament in January to become the youngest-ever player at the HSBC Champions. She was in last place after a 7-over 79.