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FUJIAN – Supamas Sangchan put herself in contention for her second China LPGA Tour victory of the year on Thursday when the Thai fired a six-under 66 for a two-stroke lead in the opening round of the Xiamen Orient Masters in Fujian province.
Chinese amateur Liu Wenbo was equal second with Thais Prima Thammaraksa and Budsabakorn Sukapan at the RMB500,000 tournament at Orient (Xiamen) Golf Country Club. Thai Parinda Phokan was fifth after a 69.
Supamas, winner of the EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open in June, played flawless golf in the sunny but windy conditions through 17 holes, reeling off seven birdies before closing with a bogey five at the 375-yard last.
“Today I just plan to play my game because before this week I have no confidence, no feeling with my shots. But today my shots are perfect and I had very good putting, the feeling comes back today,” said the 21-year-old Sukhothai native.
“It’s windy today but I have played in Scotland, the wind is much stronger than here. Today’s wind is okay for me. The golf course is not too long and there are lots of chances to get birdies. It’s pretty nice, I love it here.”
Beijing native Liu credited her five birdies to her ability to get her ball near the hole. Despite being critical of her wedge play, she said her putting and driving were solid, save for a bogey four at the 140-yard 12th hole.
“The best hole, I think, is hole six (405 yards) where I saved par. I shot to the right near the trees because of the wind. The second shot I made a mistake about the distance and shot too much. The ball went over the green to the trees again. On a difficult slope I chipped the ball very well to half a yard and parred the hole. It was so difficult that I was happier than when I got a birdie,” said the 16-year-old.
“Tomorrow I wish I could play as stable as today. I changed my swing some time ago and I feel I am in good condition recently.”
Prima, a 25-year-old from Bangkok, posted an adventurous round that included four birdies, two bogeys and an eagle three at the 456-yard 17th hole during her second visit to Orient (Xiamen).
“Yesterday I had a lot of good notes in my book. I did a good job on planning my place and where to be so I put myself in a good position for a lot of chances today,” said the former Iowa State golfer who has divided her time playing on the US LPGA and Symetra tours this year.
“My putting was really good today. Yesterday I spent one-and-a-half hours on putting and I feel like that’s paying off.”
Thailand’s Aunchisa Utama (71) carded an ace at the 168-yard fourth hole where her perfect shot found the cup with a blast of her six-iron.
China Olympian Lin Xiyu, the US LPGA Tour regular who will be heading back to the qualifying school next month after losing her playing card stateside, shot even-par 72, tied in a group of 10 players at six back that included China LPGA Tour Order of Merit leader Saranporn Langkulgasettrin of Thailand.
“Today is not very good for me, I am not very fit for the wind,” said the 21-year-old Lin, a six-time winner in China. “There were only three chances to get birdies. Because of the wind I found it difficult to trust myself so I shot too short. I need to practice, especially the shots against the wind.”
Souce: Al Campbell
Orient (Xiamen) Golf Country Club is a 6,352-yard, par-72 layout designed by Ronald Fream and TK Pen.
The China LPGA website is located at www.clpga.org
Xiamen Orient Masters first round leading scores
66 – Supamas Sangchan (THA)
68 – Liu Wenbo*, Prima Thammaraks (THA), Budsabakorn Sukapan (THA)
69 – Parinda Phokan (THA)
70 – Pavarisa Yoktuan (THA), Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras (THA)
71 – Aunchisa Utama (THA), Anais Maggetti (SUI)
72 – Yang Taoli, Lin Xiyu, Luo Ying, Chung Ye-na (KOR), Zhang Yunjie,
Dussavi Soopimjit (THA), Renuka Suksukont (THA), Saranporn Langkulgasettrin (THA),
Jang So-young (KOR), Wichanee Meechai (THA)
73 – Narisara Kerdrit (THA), Ye Ziqi, Du Mohan*, Amanda Tan (SNG)