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2021 Taiwan LPGA Tour | YICHEN Heritage Tour 24 – 25 Aug First-Round Recap

Chen Meng-Chu (陳孟竺) stroke an impressive seven birdies, offset by one double-bogey, on Tuesday to lead at the 36-hole YICHEN Heritage Tour. Her 5-under 67 gave her a 2-shot cushion over Wu Yi-Ching (伍以晴) into Wednesday’s final round.

The TLPGA Tour was forced into a shutdown in mid-May due to increased COVID threats in Taiwan. After three months of break, the Tour restarted this week at the Lily Golf & Country Club, which played host to 41 pro elites and 49 junior and amateur players as the TLPGA Tour professionals vie for a NT$600,000 purse.

The “Heritage Tour” event features a special format in which the pros and amateur players are paired in the same group so the young ones can closely interact with the elites and pick up valuable learning experience.

Chen, who re-injured her left ankle the other day, felt a persisting pain this morning but decided to give it a go. “I twisted it again last night, unfortunately. It’s where I developed a fracture in the bone near the end of last season, but I really missed the tour, I missed the competition. I wanted to go out and test my body before I called it a day,” said Chen. “I struggled to fully release the power in my driver, only about 70-80%. However, my short game was pretty good, which surprised me.”

Chen’s wayward drive on the 18th landed on a cart path, taking a couple of big bounces forward before ricocheting back onto the fairway with just 70 yards to go from the flag. “I was playing better and better as it progressed, with a little bit help of luck. The tap-in birdie on the 18th was a perfect ending to the day. There was also a good one from chipping distance on the 12th,” Chen said. The only blemish on the scorecard was a double-bogey on the 5th, where her tee shot found the penalty area.

“It always feels very different playing in a Heritage Tour event. There is less stress and more fun playing alongside the juniors. Still, it was a tough day for my ankle, I’m going to give it an ice bath and take it lightly tomorrow now that I’ve had a great first round.”

Wu Yi-Ching, carding a first round 3-under 69, also carried a back injury but was benefited from the shorter layout this week. “I couldn’t really hit hard because of a back injury sustained from a couple of weeks ago, but I’m glad that I could reach the greens with 8-iron or smaller clubs in most of my second shots today, so it wasn’t too much of a big deal,” said Wu.

Wu needed just 24 putts today, which was key and earned her four birdies─all of them were scored within 9 feet. Her only bogey in the round was caused by a mis-fired tee shot that found the bottom of a tree.

“I didn’t expect to play this well to be honest. I haven’t been practicing much during the lockdown. I actually told Mom to lower her expectations, too,” said Wu, who kept herself busy at home finding joy in baking. “I watched a lot of YouTube videos about new cookie and cake recipes. My favorite now is definitely brownies!”

Defending champion Wu Chia-Yen (吳佳晏) registered a 71 to sit in a tie for third with Kuo Ai-Chen (郭艾榛), but the teenager was not very happy about her performance. She called herself a “lost ball” penalty right away on the 1st tee, after sending her drive way too left. “And when I went for my second shot, I found that my first shot lay right there. It bounced and carried about 50 more yards. But it was too late, I was going to hit my third shot and in the end, I started the day with a bogey. I was really pissed,” said Wu Chia-Yen, who was desperately trying to find some rhythm but kept getting interrupted.

Her drive shot on the 6th tee was caught by the overhead power cables twice before finally making it to the fairway. Fortunately, the cable hits would not count into her shots according to the rules, and she used a well-executed chip-and-putt combination, saving it from 30 feet away, to score her first birdie on the day.

Wu went on to gain another shot on the following par-5 7th, making two putts to at least tally a birdie. “I like this Lily course. I had a 64 when I played and won here at the Technology Cup, so I wasn’t too happy about today. The long break absolutely played a factor. I wasn’t as sharp and confident as I needed to be. I hope I can play into better form fast enough tomorrow in the final round.”

Kuo recorded a bogey-free round on Tuesday making a lone birdie on the seventh to turn in a 71.

The YICHEN Heritage Tour was sponsored by WIN Semiconductors and some supportive, amateur individuals who are friends with TLPGA Chairwoman Liu Yi-Chen and have been taught by the former professional. The venue this week is Lily Golf & Country Club, a new partner of the TLPGA Tour.


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