World Number Six Shanshan Feng leads the way at the Trump National course thanks to a blemish-free 66 but Amy Yang lurks just a shot behind with Lydia Ko and World Number One So Yeon Ryu a stroke further back.
Players made the most of perfect conditions early in the day with most of the better scoring coming from the morning wave though Spain’s Carlota Ciganda was the exception to the rule at 4-under through 17 when play was called.
38 players will need to complete their first rounds on Friday morning local time after a two-hour delay caused by storms and lightning in the New Jersey area.
The horn sounded at 4.29pm for dangerous conditions with players eventually returning to the course at 6.34pm.
Feng and Ko played together and dragged each other along while the third member of one of the tournament’s marquee groups, Hall of Famer Inbee Park, slumped to an inexplicable 77.
The trio claimed the three medals at last year’s Rio Olympics and Feng said afterwards she was excited by the pairing.
“I was very, very happy and excited about today and tomorrow because it's the first time after Rio, first time that all three of the medalists are in the same group,” she said.
“So, I was really, really looking forward to it and, of course, I mean Inbee and Lydia are great players and very nice on the course.
“I was just enjoying it so much on the course and I think that really helped my performance.”
Park wasn’t the only big name player to struggle in the opening round with Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn signing for a 79 and 2014 winner Michelle Wie opening with a 73.
Both players are under an injury cloud, Jutanugarn withdrawing from last week’s tournament with a shoulder injury while Wie received treatment during the round at Bedminster for a troublesome neck.
There are 46 players under par at this stage of the opening round with 28 within four shots of Feng’s lead.
The year’s third major is shaping as another exciting contest with several of the game’s top players well in the mix early in the tournament.
Brooke Henderson is among a group of players at 2-under and T14 alongside two-time major winner In Gee Chun.
American favourites Lexi Thompson and Stacy Lewis are at 1-under while Cristie Kerr is equal-leading American in the clubhouse with Megan Khang, each posting 3-under 69s.
Rising star Nelly Korda and impressive amateur Rachel Heck, the youngest player in the field at just 15, are both 3-under with five holes left to complete.
Minjee Lee leads the Australians and a full report on their opening day efforts can be found here.