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2016 Taiwan LPGA Tour Hong Kong Ladies Open First-Round Recap

Pan Yen-Ling (潘彥伶) of Taiwan fired a 9-under, career low 63 to take the lead after Day 1 at the Hong Kong Ladies Open. As thunder showers continued to be a disruption, the “preferred lies” rule was in place on Friday and Pan’s record wouldn’t count officially, but the 63 has tied the TLPGA low-round set by LPGA major champions So Yeon Ryu and Inbee Park.

TLPGA Tour titlist, Thai teen Kanphanitnan Muangkhumsakul sit in a tie for second with Chinese amateur Liu Yan (劉艷). The duo carded 4-under 68s and is five shots off the pace.

Taiwanese Wu Yi-Ching (伍以晴), Aussie Katelyn Must, and Korean So-Young Jang are in a three-way tie for fourth at 3-under par 69.

The second-round will remain with two-tee start from 7:30 a.m. while the final group tees off at 13:14 p.m..

Pan made nine birdies, one eagle and just two bogeys, improving her personal low-round from 68 to 63. She had a front-nine 30 and a back-nine 33.

“I was hitting just great with everything, and especially well when I started off with birdies on the front and made the turn at 5-under,” Pan said. “I told myself that I need to be very careful to close out a good round. There were countless times when I kind of flopped it with a bad finish. I tried to slow down a bit and to keep it in play.”

Pan only missed one fairway today. Her good distance off the tee set her up in attacking position, needing only chip wedges to create scoring opportunities, and she successfully converted seven birdie putts within just nine feet. Two additional longer birdies made today were from 15 feet on 7th and from 36 feet on 12th. She holed out on the par-5 9th with a 14-yard chip-in to record an eagle.

“This was my second outing at Fanling. It’s hard to hit fairways and greens on this course so I was very focused on the precision in every shot,” said Pan, who needed just 24 putts in her round of 63, tying the lowest 18-hole score in a TLPGA event by Korea’s So Yeon Ryu at the 2016 Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic and Inbee Park at the 2013 Swinging Skirts World Ladies Masters. However, Pan’s 63 will not be recognized as an official TLPGA Tour record under the “preferred lies” rule. Players went through a first day of grueling weather tests at the Hong Kong Golf Club (HKGC) with thunderstorms around the noon and scorching heat in the late round.

2015 runner-up Muangkhumsakul, who has held already one TLPGA title this year at the Hitachi Ladies Classic at the start of the season, was in scoring mode as she registered seven birdies en route to a 4-under 68 first-round, 34 on both halves.

Also tied in second place in last year’s Hong Kong Ladies Open, 18-year-old Taiwanese Chen Yu-Ju (陳宇茹), along with Hong Kong’s Tiffany Chan, who won the 2015 TLPGA Future Open presented by High Tech Charity, are at equal seventh with three other players with a first-round 70.

For the second consecutive year, the Hong Kong Ladies Open is a co-sanction event by the TLPGA Tour and LAGT (Ladies Asian Golf Tour). The TLPGA partnered up with the Hong Kong Golf Association in 2015 in an effort to push the growth of golf in Taiwan and across the region. The world ranking points on offer will be the key for local talents to play their way onto international scenes.

The 2016 event will offer a prize fund of US$150,000, which is 25% higher than previously. The top finisher on Sunday will win US$22,500 and the runner-up will earn US$15,000.

Leading players from Taiwan and Hong Kong will enjoy the opportunity to compete against an international field of 111 golfers from Australia, China, Canada, Germany, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Scotland, South Africa, Switzerland, and Thailand. There are thirteen amateur players in the field with the youngest at the age of just twelve.
The layout this year is set at 6,246 yards long on the Fanling Course at HKGC. There will be a cut after 36 holes on Saturday to the low 50 and ties.


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