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2022 Taiwan LPGA Tour | Hitachi Ladies Classic 7 – 9 Jan First-Round Recap

Japan LPGA Tour campaigner Tsai Pei-Ying (蔡佩穎) fired seven birdies, offset by two bogeys, to take the lead on 5-under after the first round of the Hitachi Ladies Classic.

Tsai, who never missed the event in its 14-year history, is two-stroke clear of defending champion Chein Pei-Yun (錢珮芸), Cheng Ssu-Chia (程思嘉), and Lee Hsin (李欣). Rookie pros An Ho-Yu (安禾佑) and Hou Yu-Chiang (侯羽薔) sit in equal fifth place on 2-under 70.

“This was probably the best round in this event I’ve played, in about 40 rounds,” said Tsai, who put on a textbook iron display that helped her ease through the challenges provided by the Orient Golf Club. “I was trying to hit more fade shots today, which worked out better than expected. But the greens are still pretty tough to read.” Fortunately enough, Tsai kept her ball in decent positions on the greens. Though she needed 31 putts, seven of them were converted to birdies, including three in a row from Hole 8 to 10.

Chien Pei-Yun made three birdies during a four-hole stretch to go 4-under heading to the 17th tee, but a three-putt bogey on the hole held her back. Chien was on the practice range with good friend Tsai, a fellow Pingtong-native, the other day. “I told her to close her right elbow a little to take better control of her putts. Now I regret to do so that she’s ahead of me,” Chien joked.

Lee Hsin nabbed four birdies as well, and committed an only bogey on the 9th. “I didn’t think I ever made it to the first page on the first-round leaderboard here. I don’t want to think about winning just yet. I will try to keep hitting solid, especially with my irons, and keep the rhythm going.”

Cheng Ssu-Chia started slow, dropping shots on the 2nd and 4th, but quickly regrouped to sink a couple of long-range putts and crawled back into equal second place. The now U.S. based golfer made five birdies. “I still set my sights on the LPGA Tour. I haven’t really found success the past couple of seasons on the U.S. tours, but I’m still quite young. I’ll have to keep my morale high,” Cheng said.

Hou sisters Yu-Sang (侯羽桑) and Yu-Chiang, who both turned pro in December, completed their first professional rounds. The sisters felt little nerves with their rich experience throughout their decorated amateur career. “I was playing alongside Hsu Wei-Ling (徐薇淩). We chatted quite a lot. I asked her a few things about living the life on the LPGA Tour, and she was so nice, shared lots of her thoughts. I felt grateful,” said Yu-Chiang, who completed in a tie for fifth on 70; Yu-Sang sit two shots back in equal 12th.

Hsu Wei-Ling, the best Taiwanese on the world rankings at no.94, was in a crowded five way tie for 7th on 1-under 71 with Lee Min (李旻), Shih Cheng-Hsuan (石澄璇), Chen Min-Jou (陳敏柔), and Babe Liu (劉嬿).

Hsu hit just 12 greens, making two birdies and one bogey throughout the round. “I have a lot to improve in my iron game. Not the most ideal positions on the greens, which took me a couple more putts than I hoped,” Hsu said, who needed 29 putting attempts.

An was another one of the 11 players in red numbers today. She carded 70, which is composed of four birdies and two bogeys. “I was hitting the ball well on the front nine, but didn’t quite capitalize on the chances on the greens. But it went completely opposite on the back nine where I kind of struggled to set up chances,” An said.

Second-round action begins on 8 o’clock Saturday morning. Tsai, Lee, and Cheng will go in the last flight at 10:30.

The Hitachi Ladies Open is the new TLPGA Tour season’s opening event, providing a total purse of NT$10 million with NT$2.5 million going to the winner. Sharing photos with hashtag #hitachichallenge on the event’s social media pages will help support the causes and collect cash donation to endow ten appointed charities.


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