Cristie Kerr, who tied for second last week at the Women's British Open, Vicki Goetze-Ackerman and Jee Young Lee, who has not missed a cut on tour since the third event of the year, the Fields Open, are knotted in second place at 5-under-par 67.
At the par-5 fourth, Stanford reached the green in two with a 5-iron and two-putted for birdie from 30 feet. She parred the next two holes, then chipped to 4 feet to set up birdie at the par-5 seventh. Stanford tallied one more birdie on the front side, a 10-footer at the ninth, to make the turn at 5-under-par 31.
On the second nine, Stanford parred her first two holes, but returned to red numbers.
At the par-4 12th, Stanford hit a pitching-wedge to 12 feet and sank the birdie putt. She posted back-to-back birdies when her 6-iron approach stopped 6 feet from the stick at the 13th.
Stanford collected her third birdie in a row at the 14th. Her 7-iron second shot stopped a foot from the hole and she tapped in to reach 8 under par.
She parred her final four holes, but still matched the tournament record with her 64. Stanford joined Annika Sorenstam, Jill McGill and Tammie Green in the record book, but that trio posted the number in 2001 at Angus Glen Country Club.
'My goal today was to be patient,' said Stanford. 'I just gave myself some chances and the putts were going in today. I'm just really rolling it really well right now.'
Stanford has not missed a cut since the LPGA Corning Classic in late May. She credits the improvement in her putting to something that happened at the Women's British Open last week and that allowed her to play with a different approach on Thursday.
'I was trying to hit the most conservative part of the green and still have an aggressive approach,' said Stanford, who tied for second at this year's Franklin American Championship. 'The putter was the key today because I felt like I didn't have to go after every flag.'
Kerr was steady on Thursday. She opened with a birdie on the 10th, then birdied the 14th. Kerr had 40 yards to the hole for her third at the par-5 16th and pitched to 10 feet, where she drained the putt.
On the second nine, Kerr hit a 6-iron to 6 feet and converted the birdie try. She came up short of the green with her second at the par-5 seventh, then hit the stick with her chip, which was good because the ball was moving too hard. It stopped 5 feet from the hole and Kerr ran home her fifth birdie.
'I left some shots out there,' admitted Kerr. 'There were a couple of putts that could have gone in, but it was definitely a solid day to start out and I played very well.'
Goetze-Ackerman and Lee both mixed six birdies and a bogey on their rounds Thursday.
Defending champion Meena Lee, Il Mi Chung and Canadian Lorie Kane are tied for fifth place at 4-under-par 68. Pat Hurst, who lost a playoff to Sorenstam at the U.S. Women's Open, and Meredith Ward share eighth place at 3-under-par 69.
Se Ri Pak, who won this year's LPGA Championship, Nadina Light, Lee Ann Walker-Cooper, Young Jo, Sherri Turner, Sarah Lee, Hee Jung Park, Wendy Ward, Candy Hannemann, Christina Kim and Morgan Pressel are tied for 10th place at minus-2.