BELLEAIR — Lexi Thompson didn’t know she had made a hole-in-one until she looked over at the ropes and saw a spectator behind the green raise his arms in the air.The ball soared across the fairway 165 yards toward the flag, dropping about 15 feet from the No. 3 hole at Pelican Golf Club before bouncing, hitting the flag post and plopping in.Some screams erupted, and Thompson high-fived her brother, Curtis — who’s caddying for her this weekend at the Pelican Women’s Championship — and others in her group to celebrate.“I couldn’t tell if it went in or not,” said Thompson, who hit a 9-iron. “But it’s a great feeling, even though there were only about 10 people that saw it.”It marked the second consecutive season in which the 25-year-old Coral Springs native made a hole-in-one. She previously did it at the HSBC Women’s World Championship in March 2019 .She also raised $20,000 for St. Jude’s Hospital through the CME Group Cares Challenge.“It’s definitely not simple, but at the same time, having two in the last year and donating that much money to St. Jude’s Hospital means the world to me,” said Thompson, who shot par 70 in Thursday’s opening round. “It’s not only helping my scorecard, but it’s helping out the world and these kids.”World No. 1 Jin Young Ko didn’t have the restart she’d hoped for in her LPGA Tour season debut.Ko, who spent most of 2020 playing in South Korea due to the coronavirus pandemic, shot 2-over 72, eight shots back of first-round leader Sophia Popov.“(My first round back) was fun,” Ko said. “It was tough, but (that was) the same condition for everybody, so I will try for more birdies (tomorrow).”Ko said a couple of bad shots off the tee led to her three bogeys (against one birdie). She said she will pay closer attention to the wind conditions, which were listed as 10 to 15 mph, in Friday’s second round.Popov took advantage of eight birdies, including five straight from holes 5-9, to shoot a career-low 6-under 64, two shots ahead of second-place Ashleigh Buhai.“I wasn’t thinking about the streak very much,” Popov said. “But looking back, I think I saw my scorecard on the leaderboard and I was like, ‘Yikes, that was better than anticipated.’”Popov said she used the wind to her advantage instead of trying to fight it and relied on her “hot” putter.“You know, I think, the way that usually happens is that you’re not thinking, and I think that’s what was happening,” Popov said. “I was just kind of, you know, playing ... shot after shot and wasn’t really thinking about where I was at or how many birdies I was making.”Though she didn’t hit as many greens as she would have liked, Seminole native and Gulfport resident Brittany Lincicome had a successful first round, shooting 1-under 69.She had three birdies and two bogies to tie eight other players for 13th place.“I didn’t hit it very well, so to shoot 1-under was actually really nice,” Lincicome said. “But since I only hit eight greens, we have some work to do. It’s a little bit unfortunate.”Lincicome said she could have taken better advantage of playing in the morning, with winds picking up in the afternoon. As it was, she said she needed her putter to save par on some holes.“I missed in some wrong spots,” she said. “(Friday) will play pretty tough.”It will help to have her husband, Dewald Gouws, who seldom gets to see her play, and 1-year-old daughter, Emery, watching.“I see her smiling face,” Lincicome said, “and it makes me calm down.” Contact Mari Faiello at firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow @faiello_mari .