The teen shot an eight-under 64 at a windy Ko Olina Golf Course to take a one-shot lead over nearest rivals Suzann Pettersen and Hee Kyung Seo.
Jutanugarn claimed her first professional title three weeks ago at the Ladies European Tour's Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco.
Before that she had come close to winning on the LPGA Tour in Thailand, only to collapse from a winning position on the final hole to hand Inbee Park the title.
In Hawaii, she was six-under on the front nine before bogeying the 10th, hitting an eagle on the 14th and birdying the 15th.
Pettersen had nine birdies and two bogeys in her opening round.
"I tried to be really aggressive," said Pettersen, coming off a third-place tie two weeks in the Kraft Nabisco Championship. "My dad was so disappointed after the Kraft that I left all the putts short. He's like, 'You got to hit the ball past the hole to make putts.' "
Lydia Ko, the 15-year-old amateur from South Korea, shot a 71 to sit alongside Paula Creamer after the first round.
Local favourite Michelle Wie was a shot ahead after a two-under 70.
- Sports & Recreation
- Suzann Pettersen