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2020 Taiwan LPGA Tour | Nan Pao TLPGA Heritage Tour 10-11 Jun First-Round Recap
Date:2020-06-10

After more than four months of hiatus due to concerns of the COVID-19 situations, the TLPGA Tour returns to action today at the Nan Pao Golf Club.

The Nan Pao TLPGA Heritage Tour is a 36-hole pro-junior event where the TLPGA golfers are grouped with young amateurs and junior golfers, as they face their own competitions, to provide them with a platform to closely interact with the experienced professionals. The total purse this week reaches NT$700,000.

16-year-old rookie Wu Chia-Yen (吳佳晏), a former U.S. Women’s Amateur semifinalist, is playing her first event as a pro. Starting from the back-nine, Wu went bogey-free through 16 before dropping a shot on the no.8. She closed the round with a 4-under 68, tying with tour veteran Chen I-Wen (陳依妏), to take a two-shot lead.

Wu Yi-Ching (伍以晴), Hanna Chen (陳子涵), and Hsieh Yu-Ling (謝瑀玲) were in a three-way tie for third. U.S. based Cheng Ssu-Chia (程思嘉) and Chien Pei-Yun (錢珮芸) sit in equal sixth, at 1-under, and equal thirteenth, at 1-over, respectively.

“It’s very special for me because it’s my first tournament as a professional player finally,” Wu said. “It was very hot. I was so sweaty, but I tried to stay concentrated. I really wanted to do well.”

Chen I-Wen gave credits to the unexpected break during the last four months for her blemish-free 68. “Me and my team had no choice but to continue to improve on every aspect of my game,” said Chen. “I felt my fitness level was quite good. I hit a lot of fairways, which was one of the things we had been working on. But to be fair, I would probably give a 7 out of 10 for my performance today. I still see lots of room for improvement.”

The game is forced to take a pause in most parts of the world because of the pandemic. LPGA Tour campaigners Chen Ssu-Chia and Chien Pei-Yun gained this precious chance to be playing on the unique home event. “I had been in so many Heritage Tour events when I was still small, looking up to those big sisters playing at a very high level. Now it’s my time to lead those younger ones. It feels fun,” Cheng said. “But it feels like a long, long time since we last played on the Tour. I felt so rusty until only the last few holes.”

Chien also took some time to find her groove as she pointed out the challenging greens on the Nan Pao course. “Although this is not really the biggest, I gave my 100% preparation and took on every shot carefully to hopefully get myself back in shape more quickly.” Chien plans to try qualify for the Japan LPGA Tour at the end of the year to give herself more options going into the 2021 season.

On the side note, Lee Jui-Hui (李瑞慧), a mother of two, made a surprise return after seven seasons alongside her younger son, who takes on the junior event. The mother and son shared a valuable experience as playing partners in a TLPGA Tour tournament.
 

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