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Thailand’s Renuka Suksukont Wins the Hengqin Phoenix Tree Building Orient Golf Challenge

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ZHUHAI, China – Thailand’s Renuka Suksukont captured the first tournament of the CLPGA Tour season on Saturday as the Thai survived a wild finish to win the Hengqin Phoenix Tree Building Orient Golf Challenge by two strokes in Guangdong province.

With five birdies, four bogeys and a triple on her scorecard heading into the final hole with a one stroke lead, Renuka ensured her victory in the wet conditions by making a birdie three on Zhuhai Orient’s final hole to close with a 73. She finished on five-under 211 to earn RMB75,000.

Beijinger Shi Yuting was runner-up after posting a 68, one stroke ahead of compatriots Zhang Weiwei (73) and Du Mohan (68). Liu Yiyi (68) added to the late charge by mainland Chinese players as the Shanxi teenager shot 68 to finish equal fifth with Chinese Taipei’s Peng Chieh (71) at four strokes back.

With a rainstorm delaying the start of play by 30 minutes this morning, Renuka quickly got to seven-under when she made a birdie at the 385-yard second hole. After consecutive bogeys on holes four and five, she rebounded for a birdie two at the 157-yard eighth hole.

The back nine proved a rollercoaster for the Pathum Thani native as her home stretch included four birdies, two bogeys and a triple bogey seven at the 14th hole where she sliced her second shot into the water.

“My feeling today is okay, good. Before hole 14, not so good. After that I feel like everything is so hard, but I try to just like make par,” said the 23-year-old Renuka who won her second career China LPGA Tour title.

“I want one more or two more wins this season. I feel like finally I made it. Before this I didn’t play so good. It was like going to be good but dropped. Last year, also, many times I was leading the first day but I couldn’t build on that.”

Shi, back playing in China after losing her playing card in Japan last season, said she was well prepared for the cold and wet conditions and that helped her game which featured five birdies and a lone bogey after starting the day seven strokes back.

“My expectations for the competition this week were high, and I am satisfied with my performance. I give myself an 80 score because of the physical condition of gastroenteritis affecting me this week. Luckily, I adjusted well today,” said the 21-year-old who won this tournament in 2016 for her maiden CLPGA Tour win.

“The plan this year is to get more world points. I will play more than 20 second-tier tournaments in Japan. The goal is to be a second-tier prize winner on the tour, which is difficult but still worth challenging for. Once I can get the second-tier prize winner, I can get a first-tier tournament card for the tour in 2020.”

Yin Ruoning was the top amateur as the 16-year-old national team player closed with a 74 for a three-over score and an equal 18th finish

“Today the course was slippery, muddy and the ball does not go far. This partly affected my game,” said the Shanghai teenager. “This week I am satisfied with my chipping. Every time I put the ball to the edge of the hole around a half yard and I can save par.

My long irons didn’t feel good enough, overall, I give my performance a score of 70.”

Zhuhai Orient Golf Club is a 6,237-yard, par-72 layout designed by TK Pen.

Source: Al Campbel