Patty takes 3-shot lead in Chon Buri

Patty takes 3-shot lead in Chon Buri

Thais in top two positions after two rounds of Honda LPGA Thailand tournament

Patty Tavatanakit of Thailand watches her drive during the second round of the Honda LPGA Thailand at the Siam Country Club in Chon Buri on Friday.
Patty Tavatanakit of Thailand watches her drive during the second round of the Honda LPGA Thailand at the Siam Country Club in Chon Buri on Friday.

CHON BURI: Rising Thai star Patty Tavatanakit shot her second straight 8-under-par round to open a three-stroke lead on Friday over compatriot Atthaya Thitikul at the Honda LPGA Thailand tournament.

Patty enters the third round at 16 under par. Atthaya, who was tied for the lead after the first round, is alone in second place at 13 under, one stroke ahead of Caroline Masson of Germany. Another stroke back are Gaby Lopez of Mexico, Lydia Ko of New Zealand and Nanna Koerstz Madsen of Denmark.

Former world No.1 Ariya Jutanugarn is still in the hunt at 10 under.

“I’m happy with the result,” Patty said after her round. “I didn’t play well early and I need to improve some things, but I’m happy with the result.”

Amy Yang, who has won three of her four LPGA titles at the Thailand tournament including the 2019 edition, fired a spotless round of 65 to sit in seventh place alongside fellow South Korean Park Hee-young.

The US$1.6-million tournament — it was cancelled last year — is being held behind closed doors under strict coronavirus protocols at Siam Country Club.

Bangkok native Patty, a former UCLA star, has been the talk of the golf world since winning the ANA Inspiration — one of five major tournaments on the LPGA calendar — in April for her first victory on the tour. Last week in Singapore she tied for third in the HSBC Women’s World Championship.

On Friday the 21-year-old put together four birdies on the front nine and two more on the back nine before capping the day with an eagle on the par-5 18th hole.

The Honda event is Patty’s first appearance in the LPGA Thailand as a professional, having played in the tournament twice as an amateur.

Ratchaburi native Atthaya, 18, is competing in her third LPGA Thailand and first as a pro.

Atthaya had four birdies and one eagle, but a bogey on the 17th cost her a share of the lead going into the final hole, which her rival eagled.

“I didn’t start the day well, but came back and kept the momentum going. After the sixth hole, I started to get good results,” she said.

“The short game is important in this tournament, so tomorrow (Saturday) I will try to make better putts.”

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