Soifua made up a five-stroke deficit entering the final round to win her third straight crown last year.
"I wasn't too happy with it," Soifua said about her first round Monday at Meadow Brook Golf Course. "It's my fault. I didn't practice. I was so busy that I didn't have time. I don't think I touched a ball since Wednesday."
After shooting a 1-under 71, Soifua turned in her scorecard and almost immediately went back out to practice her chip shots.
"Last year, it was crazy and I got lucky. I just have to play as hard as I can and, in my mind, think that she [Mickelsen] is going to play good again," Soifua said.
Soifua will try to catch someone who recently has been playing the best golf of her young career. Mickelsen shot a 68 as she and Soifua were the only two players under par.
In fact, the Hawks golfer got to 4-under par on the back nine alone after shooting even over the first half of the round.
"That is my personal best. I've shot a 71 before and some 72s, but never in the 60s," Mickelsen said. "My putting was good today. I made a lot of good putts for birdie. I started off OK, but got a lot of birdies on the back end."
"She's a great player, very steady. Probably the steadiest golfer out here," Alta coach Gary Schneiter said. "She shot a 71 a couple of weeks ago, and that was her best round. She also had a double-eagle three weeks ago and a hole-in-one on the same day."
The individual and team standings are determined through the Stableford point system, where points are awarded for each hole (5 points for par, 6 for birdie). In both the Stableford and traditional method of scoring, Soifua is three off the pace of Mickelsen, and Corner Canyon's Emma Winfree is four back of the lead.
Winfree, ranked third within her own team's hierarchy, exemplified the depth of her team and helped the Chargers to a lead in the team standings after the first day.
Corner Canyon took state with a 33-point margin in Stableford points over Bountiful last year.
"It gives me motivation to do better, to know that I'm not at the top and that's where I want to be," said Winfree of playing in a group of three.
Class 5A meet
Bingham's Tess Blair shot a 68 for 93 points to grab the lead by two points over Davis' Caylyn Ponich after Day 1 at Davis Park Golf Course.
Bingham's Carissa Graft was two points behind Ponich in third place entering Tuesday's final day.
Lone Peak's Abbey Porter and Bingham's Jenique Jacobs both scored 87s to stay in the mix.
R Alta's Cora Mickelsen shoots four-under over the back nine as she takes the first-round lead with a 68.
• Three-time defending state champ Naomi Soifua is three back of Mickelsen.
• Only Mickelsen, Soifua and Alta's Emma Winfree shoot at par or under at the Meadow Brook Golf Course.
Class 5A state tournament
Top 10 after Day 1 (by Stableford points) • 1. Tess Blair, Bingham, 93; 2. Caylyn Ponich, Davis, 91; 3. Carissa Graft, Bngham, 89; 4. Alina Vannarath, Westlake, 88; 5. Abbey Porter, Lone Peak, 87; (tie) Jenique Jacobs, Bingham, 87; 7. Whitney Banz, West, 85; 8. Maddie Moss, Lone Peak, 84; 9. Maegen Nitta, Lone Peak, 83; (tie) Lauren Taylor, Lone Peak, 83.
Top 3 teams • 1. Bingham 348; 2. Lone Peak 337; 3. Davis 322.
Class 4A state tournament
Top 10 after Day 1 (by Stableford points) • 1. Cora Mickelsen, Alta, 94; 2. Naomi Soifua, Provo, 91; 3. Emmy Winfree, Corner Canyon, 90; 4. Dallas Christoffersen, Bonneville, 86; 5. Kanna Crosland, East, 85; (tie) Cristi Ciasca, Corner Canyon, 85; 7. Jobi Einerson, Bountiful, 83; 8. Lina Hwang, Alta, 81; 9. Jamie Connell, Corner Canyon, 80; Averi Stover, Wasatch, 80.
Top 3 teams • 1. Corner Canyon 334; 2. Alta 314; Bountiful 300.