Stanford, the 2003 ShopRite LPGA Tour Classic winner, had a bogey-free round at Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club. She had six birdies in a front-nine 30 and birdied the final two holes for a back-nine 32.
It all happened so slowly, Stanford said. Im still in a fog. Its just one of those days you cant even get in your own way.
The 30-year-old Texan broke the course record of 63 set by Cristie Kerr in 2004, and topped her previous career best of 64 in the first round of the 2006 Canadian Open.
Ochoa, the Mexican star who won the tournament last year for the first of her eight 2007 titles, had nine birdies and two bogeys. She won the HSBC Champions on March 2 in Singapore for her 18th LPGA Tour title.
Im going to try to be aggressive (Friday) and try to catch her. Maybe I can beat that, Ochoa said after congratulating Stanford on her round.
Sherri Steinhauer was third after a 66, Karen Stupples, Jee Young Lee and Yani Tseng and Heather Young shot 67s, and Michele Redman, Sophie Gustafson and Na Yeon Choi followed at 68. Three-time winner Annika Sorenstam birdied the final two holes to match Paula Creamer with a 69.
I finished strong and got a little momentum, said Sorenstam, who shot the first 59 in womens tournament history in her 2001 victory at Moon Valley. The 70-time LPGA Tour winner also won in 2004 and 2005 at Superstition Mountain.
Stanford wasnt pleased with her 3-wood approach on the par-5 18th, but put it on the green from 236 yards to set up a two-putt birdie.
Hook. Chunk. Duck. It was just bad, she said. But I had enough topspin to make it to the green.
Stanford said she sensed a special round coming when she got up-and-down for par from a greenside bunker on No. 1.
Stanfords lone victory came 114 starts ago and her best finishes since came in 2006, when she was second twice.
Im not even going to think about it (winning), Stanford said. I want to, but Im just not going to.
Ochoa shot a 5-under 31 on the front nine, but three-putted the par-3 12th for a bogey and also dropped a stroke on the par-4 15th when she hit a wedge over the green and into a bunker.
Two silly mistakes, she said. Im OK. Its a great way to start.
The 45-year-old Steinhauer had eight birdies and two bogeys.
Yeah, thats all right, Steinhauer said. Its fun to come out ahead of the young ones at times. Ive been terming myself Dr. Jeykll and Mr. Hyde. Today was Mr. Hyde, but tomorrow it could be Dr. Jeykll.
Patricia Meunier-Lebouc aced the 167-yard 17th hole with a 7-iron. She finished with a 72.