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CTBC Invitational
September 24th ~ 26th (Fri. ~ Sun.)
(Symetra)Florida’s Natural Charity Classic
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2016 Taiwan LPGA Tour Florida’s Natural Charity Classic [Symetra Tour] First-Round Recap

American Marissa Steen used a bogey-free first-round 66 to set the early pace at the Florida’s Natural Charity Classic, a Symetra Tour and Taiwan LPGA Tour co-sanctioned event. Taiwanese amateur, 15-year-old Chang Ya-Chun (張雅淳) shot a 4-under par 68 to sit in a tie for second with Samantha Richdale and Kana Nagai.

One of Taiwan’s biggest hopes is on 2011 winner Lin Tzu-Chi (林子麒), but she couldn’t quite find her range and settled in a tie for 33rd.

Symetra Tour member Chien Pei-Yun (錢珮芸) carded a 3-under 69 to sit equal fifth. Fellow Taiwanese Symetra Tour player Doris Chen (陳彥寧) is at equal twelfth, five shots off the lead.

The TLPGA Tour forged a partnership with the Symetra Tour this off season to help Taiwanese players get tuned for the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic in San Francisco. Twelve sponsor invitation opportunities are provided for TLPGA members to be joining the fields of the Florida’s Natural Charity Classic and the Chico’s Patty Berg Memorial next week.

The Florida’s Natural Charity Classic features a total purse of US$175,000 and the winner of the 156-player event will be rewarded with US$26,250. It marks the first TLPGA Tour event co-sanctioned with the developmental tour to the LPGA Tour, dubbed the “Road to the LPGA”.

Chang, who moved last August to the United States to attend local high school in Florida, made six birdies and two bogeys en route to the first-round 68 in her third professional events this year. She played two TLPGA Tour tournaments in January and finished T6 at the Hitachi Ladies Classic.

Solid play of irons and putter helped Chang make 15 of 18 greens in regulation and she needed just 29 putts. She made a 12-foot putt for birdie on the first hole and four more from three to nine feet. A chip and putt combination picked up another shot on the par-5 13th.

“I was just starting to use a new wood this Monday, but it felt great. My distance increased, which is helpful on longer courses like the Lake Wales this week. Grass was a little faster than in the practice greens.” said the 15-year-old amateur.

“I really like Lydia (Ko) and I always remember how she said she just simply tries to enjoy the game. And I want to do the same. So I tried to get myself freed up and have fun in each shot, to stay positive.” Chang will continue to play the Chico’s Patty Berg Memorial to be held from April 14th through 17th with her father by her side as her caddie.

Chien Pei-Yun hit her first tee on the par-5 10th and made birdie right away. She added five more to her birdie count but also made three bogeys, finishing at 3-under. Chien made her longest birdie putt from 15 feet on the 15th hole. She needed 30 putts in total.

Chien has been working on major swing changes in California after completing the TLPGA & Royal Open in January. “It’s been like totally different brain function, telling me I can’t do things I’ve been programmed to do for years. Extremely painful process at the beginning. I practice my new swings eight hours a day, at least five days a week, and now it’s getting better,” Chien explained. “I’m not hitting as long as I could but I feel a lot more consistent.”

Chien hit only nine fairways, however, she managed to get 14 of 18 greens in regulation. “Today I felt like the reprogramming was just about 85-90% completed. I still have some work to do. But it was already a satisfying result,” said Chien. “I earned lots of experience watching Yani’s (Tseng) routines and how she played when I caddied for her a couple of weeks ago at the Kia LPGA Classic. I tried to merge them into my game plan and it worked pretty great.”

The TLPGA has been increasing efforts to build a more international tour by reaching to the China LPGA, Ladies Philippine Golf Tour (LPGT) and Ladies Asian Tour (LAGT) over the past two calendar years. This will be a debut a TLPGA Tour event is featured on the Symetra Tour at the same time.

The fifteen Taiwan representatives include three Symetra Tour members Cheng Ssu-Chia (程思嘉), Chien Pei-Yun, and Doris Chen. Some other notable names are 2015 TLPGA Money Winner Kuo Ai-Chen (郭艾榛), Chen Meng-Chu (陳孟竺), Chen I-Wen (陳依妏), Yeh Hsin-Ning (葉欣寧), Liang Yi-Lin (梁宜羚), Chang Hsuan-Ping (張瑄屏), Huang Hsien-Wen (黃賢雯), Pan Yen-Ling (潘彥伶), and Chen Szu-Han (陳思涵), all among TLPGA Tour’s top 25.

There will be a cut to be made to the low 60 and ties after 36 holes. Second-round play is to begin at 7:30 a.m..


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