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2023 Taiwan LPGA Tour | ICTSI Anvaya Cove Ladies International 22 – 24 Feb First-Round Recap

The TLPGA and LPGT (Ladies Philippine Golf Tour) co-sanctioned ICTSI Anvaya Cove Ladies International gets the golf season underway for Filipino fans finally after three years of shutdown due to Covid. The Anvaya Cove Golf & Sports Club plays host to 67 players from six countries as they compete for a US$100,000 purse.

2022 Thailand LPGA Tour money winner P.K. Kongkraphan used a 4-under 68 to take the first-round lead, while local star Bianca Pagdanganan sit one shot adrift in solo second. Taiwan’s Chang Ya-Chun (張雅淳) and Chou Tina Yi-Tsen (周怡岑) both carded a 2-under 70 to move into equal third.

This event is the second leg on the 2023 TLPGA Tour and first extending overseas. There are 48 TLPGA Tour members and 10 Taiwanese players entering this week, including Chang Ya-Chun, the 2022 year-end no.1 player.

“I started out a little nervous,” said Chang, who played with Kongkraphan and Pagdanganan today in the first-round. “They are both amazing players and have lots of experience on the LPGA Tour. In fact, Bianca was my senior on the golf varsity team when I joined as a freshman at the University of Arizona.”

After collecting herself from the disappointment of bogeying the first hole, Chang made a run of four birdies in five holes between No.7 to No.11. Despite a water penalty on the 12th where she ended up with a double-bogey, along with another brief setback on the 14th, the 22-year-old showed formidable resilience and picked up a pair of 9-foot birdies on the 13th and 15th to stay in the leading pack.

“The fairways are narrow here at the Anvaya Cove. I think I only took out my driver twice the entire day. Finding the fairways was key,” said Chang. “The greens are difficult to read sometimes. The putts went a little short for me on the front nine, which lost me a couple of birdie chances, but I was adjusting better I think on the back nine, except a three-putt on the 14th.” Chang needed 30 putts.

Chou also recovered from a slow start. She bogeyed Hole 4 and 8 to arrive at the turn at 2-over; however, she raised the level on the back nine, pouring in five birdies at the expense of just one bogey.

“There are a lot of uphill holes on the front nine, which I found challenging to deal with because my trajectory is usually flatter,” said Chou. “It was so much better on the back nine. 2-under is a satisfying score for me considering how tough this course actually plays. The greens were not easy as well, lots of hidden slopes.” Chou needed 32 putts.

P.K. Kongkraphan, who won the TLPGA Tour co-sanctioned BGC Thailand Ladies Masters last September in her home country, shot five birdies and one bogey to set the early pace at 4-under. She hit all 14 fairways, which was even more impressive as she was averaging about 270 yards off the tee, and missed just one green.

The 31-year-old moved full-time onto LPGA Tour level in 2014 after a successful season on it’s developmental Symetra Tour (now Epson Tour) in 2013 when she became the “Player of the Year”. Her best LPGA Tour season was also in 2014 when she finished in no.78 on the money list.

Bianca Pagdanganan scored an eagle on the par-5 10th and four more birdies, but a couple of loose errors on short holes put her down from the lead. The 25-year-old started her venture on the LPGA Tour in 2020, making it to the top-60 on the year-end money list. She closed the 2022 season in no.112.

Taiwanese Huang Ching (黃靖) shot a 71, which was composed of three birdies and two bogeys, to sit in a tie for sixth. Chang Hsua-Ping (張瑄屏) and Tseng Tsai-Ching (曾彩晴), with their first-round 72s, were in a tie for eighth.

Second-round action is set to begin at 7:30 on Thursday morning, in two waves from the first and tenth tees at the Anvaya Cove Golf & Sports Club. An elimination looms at the end of the round to cut the field to 40 players and ties.


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