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2018 Taiwan LPGA Tour | ICTSI Champion Tour - Tagaytay Midlands Golf Club First-Round Recap
Date:2018-07-25

In the second of the back-to-back TLPGA Tour and LPGT (Ladies Philippine Golf Tour) co-sanctioned events, Thailand continued to be a strong force as Pannapa Polnamin used a blistering 8-under-par 64 in the early wave to set the pace at the ICTSI Champion Tour at the Tagaytay Midlands Club. Taiwan’s Huang Ching (黃靖) and Pan Yen-Ling (潘彥伶) were in a tie for second with 5-under 68s.

Winner of the ICTSI Champion Tour - Manila Southwoods Golf & Country Club this past week, Ploychompoo Wilairungrueng and last week’s co-runner-up, home favorite Princess Mary Superal carded matching 68s to sit in a tie for fourth with another four Thai players.

Also in the top-10 saw Taiwan’s Chen Meng-Chu (陳孟竺) and Lai Yi-Ting (賴怡廷), who both shot 3-under 69s.

The weather in Manila hasn’t been too kind this fortnight. Round one on Wednesday was suspended for 92 minutes an hour past the noon because of thunderstorms. And later around 4:00 p.m., players had to endure a lengthy rain shower, but gladly, the course remained in decent shape and the first round was completed before darkness came at 6:45.

Pan, who set off in the final group, said it was turning dark so quickly when she still had two holes to finish. “My playing partners and I were literally running through the last hole, because we really didn’t want to came back tomorrow for the extra holes,” Pan recalled. “But it was actually fun. I’ve never had to worry about darkness and rush to play like that. This was a first!”

Everything went about in textbook fashion for the clubhouse leader Polnamin despite a late start when she failed to find the fairway and the green on the 11th (her second hole of the day). She left the hole with a bogey but went onto score three birdies on 13th, 14th, and 16th, before capping off the back-nine with an eagle on the par-5 18th.

Four more birdies on the front nine gave Polnamin an early lead that no one was able to surpass the rest of the day. She attempted only 25 strokes on the greens, making 14 greens in regulation and 12 fairways out of 14.

Pan, who started her day on the back, got off to an ideal start with a confidence-boosting birdie from 24 feet on the 10th. The Taiwanese recorded five more birdies in the day within about 3-5 feet, saying she had great placements on the greens which made putting easier today.

“I still missed a few on my inward nine but I can’t complain,” said Pan. “There were actually some hidden small twists and turns on the greens; you have to really read them well and lay it up on the right spot.” She made just one bogey today on the 1st (her tenth hole) after taking a water penalty.
 
Tied for second with Pan was Huang, who recorded a very solid round with 15 greens in regulation, 11 fairways out of 14, five birdies and zero bogey. “The course was pretty wet all day. But I think the staff came well-prepared and the draining system was great. There were very few puddles of water. Also, with the preferred lies, I felt quite comfortable throughout the day. I’m happy with the way I played.”

Huang displayed a nicely-toned performance with her short game, draining two birdies on the par-5s with chip-and-putt combinations. She needed just 28 putts. Her longest successful birdie putt was from 18 feet on the 7th.

Lai Yi-Ting’s round of 69 consisted of one eagle, four birdies and three bogeys. She used her 58-degree wedge to score a chip-in eagle from 55 yards on the par-5 fifth. A second chip-in saw her register a birdie on the sixth. She needed 30 putts.

Chen Meng-Chu, also in a five-way tie for tenth, needed only 26 putts on Wednesday, carding her 69 with four birdies and one bogey. “The green speed plays a lot like the ones in my hometown Taiwan, so I’m feeling great, with my putter especially.”

The talented Hou sisters Yu-Chiang (侯羽薔) and Yu-Sang (侯羽桑) carded even-par 72s to sit in a tie for 22nd with compatriots Jessica Peng (彭婕), Lee Chia-Pei (李佳霈) and twelve other players.

Yu-Chiang captured her first win in a pro event two months ago at the TLPGA Ladies Open – Nan Pao. The momentum was carried into last week as she finished as the low amateur and second on the leaderboard. Yu-Sang also made the top-5.

The Tagaytay Midlands Club event is the seventh leg of the 2018 TLPGA Tour and serves as the eleventh stop on the LPGT. The competition layout is set at 6,384 yards long.

The winner of the 104-player field will be decided on Friday. The total purse of the event is $75,000 while the winner takes away a $15,000 cash prize. The runner-up will pocket $7,500.

Second-round play starts from the first and tenth tees at 7:00 tomorrow morning; the late flight is set off to go at 11:00.

A cut will be made to the low 50 and ties after the second round.

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