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2019 Taiwan LPGA Tour | ICTSI Manila Golf Ladies Classic First-Round Recap
Date:2019-04-10

17-year-old home girl Yuka Saso took the clubhouse lead with an opening 4-under 67 at the $100,000 ICTSI Manila Ladies Classic. Taiwanese youngsters Chen Hsuan (陳萱) and Chang Ching-Ling (張靖翎) were two strokes back on 2-under.

Singapore′s Koh Sock Hwee, Thai trio Chommapat Pongthanarak, Pimpadsorn Sangkagaro, and Arpichaya Yubol were tied for fourth with matching 70s. Title hopefuls, Taiwan’s Lee Hsin (李欣) and Filipino Pauline del Rosario shared the eighth place carding even-par 71s. Lee completed the 2018 season as the no.5 on the year-end TLPGA Tour money list.

Taiwanese amateur Chang Tzu-Yi (張子怡) shot a 72 on Wednesday, which placed her in a tie for twelfth.

Saso, current no.1 amateur in the Philippines, is riding high in morale with a top-3 finish in the inaugural Augusta National Women′s Amateur last week. A winner already in the Philippines’ National Amateur Championship this February, Saso grabbed the attention of international media as she put up a stern challenge to World No.1 golfer Park Sung Hyun in the final round of The Country Club Ladies Invitational before falling short by just two strokes. She′s now ranked the world′s eleventh best amateur.

The Japanese Filipino bounced from a 1-over start after three holes and made five birdies in the rest of the day to jump to the lead. Chang Ching-Ling, leader after fifteen, fell back into the chasing pack after making a three-putt bogey on the 17th.

Chang picked up three birdies prior to the letdown with perfect putting; she used an impressive 26 putts throughout the day, with the most memorable one on the 15th hole where her ball rolled in from eighteen feet away.

“Yeah, I was feeling great with my putter today. My driver was good, too. Although the iron made things a bit more complicated, I managed to put up some nice play on the fringe′; Chang said, who only made 10 greens, but none of the misses cost. “I tried to take my time to read into each hole and come up with the best strategy, be flexible and trust that I’ve got a great skillset to cope with any condition. It was key that I never really rushed myself, which I tend to.”

Chen Hsuan, tied with Chang for second, had four birdies and two bogeys with also a satisfying putting display as she made just 28 attempts on the greens. “A little disappointed that I felt I left at least three birdies around 10-15 feet range. But it wasn’t easy. There were some heavy slopes,” said Chen. “You simply need to make sure you hit into a good spot on the green or you′re going to be in trouble.” Her longest successful putt was a 36-footer on the par-5 15th.

The TLPGA Tour and LPGT co-sanctioned event drew 25 from Taiwan, 36 from Thailand, and 14 local elites, a total of 86 pros and 7 amateurs into the field, who will be competing for a $17,500 top prize at the 6,368-yard layout at the Manila Golf Club inside the Forbes Park. The Manila Ladies Classic serves as the fifth leg of the 2019 TLPGA Tour season.

Second-round action is set to start at 7:30 a.m. Only the top 50 scores and ties will be able to get into Friday′s final-round.

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