McDonald, from Fulton, had seven birdies – two on her first two holes of the season – to share the firstround lead. She’s tied with Brittany Marchand of North Carolina State.
Mississippi State senior Mary Langdon Gallagher was tied for fourth after a career-best 69.
MSU’s 6-under 282 was the third-lowest 18-hole score in school history.
South Carolina and Clemson are three strokes back.