Japan's Nasa Hataoka turned in a bogey-free, 10-under 61 on Thursday to leap out to a four-stroke lead at the Marathon LPGA Classic at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania, Ohio.

Hataoka recorded 10 birdies, including six straight from the 15th to the second hole after starting on the back nine. Had she made two more birdies to conclude her round, Hataoka would have secured the second round of 59 in LPGA Tour history.

But the 22-year-old only managed par on the eighth and ninth holes and had to settle for 10 under and a major advantage over the field.

Annika Sorenstam remains the only LPGA golfer to shoot a 59 in competitive play.

Leona Maguire is tied 27th place after posting an opening-round two-under 69. The Cavan native hit three birdies and a solitary bogey to sit eight shots off the lead, albeit just four off second place.

Lauren Stephenson is alone in second after a bogey-free, six-under 65. Five players tied for third after the first round with five-under 66s: Finland's Matilda Castren, Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn, Ssu-Chia Cheng of Chinese Taipei, Mina Harigae and Yealimi Noh.

All of them, except for Jutanugarn finished without a bogey, while Jutanugarn carded seven birdies and two bogeys.

Leona Maguire in action on the tenth hole at Highland Meadows Golf Club

Castren continued a run of top form after placing second at last week's Volunteers of America Classic and winning the LPGA Mediheal Championship in June.

Stephanie Meadow has it all to do to make it through to the weekend as the Jordanstown native, who will partner Maguire at the Olympics in Tokyo, posted an opening round three-over 74.

"When I had my ninth birdie (59) kind of did come to my mind," said Hataoka. "But then after I only having two holes I just thought how great Annika was more than me getting it, yeah."

Hataoka said 61 was the best score she could remember having, even counting practice rounds.

"I think what was really working is I was able to control my iron shots to make sure I could get close to the pin to get the birdies," Hataoka said.

Her biggest accomplishment of the season was a second-place finish at the US Women's Open, where she qualified for a play-off but lost to Yuka Saso of the Philippines. Hataoka's last tour win came at the Kia Classic in 2019.