Atthaya chasing leaders in Singapore

Atthaya chasing leaders in Singapore

Thai teen star one shot back, first-round leader Patty slumps with five bogeys

Thailand’s Atthaya Thitikul tees off during day two of the HSBC Women’s World Championship golf tournament at Sentosa Golf Club in Singapore on Friday. (AFP Photo)
Thailand’s Atthaya Thitikul tees off during day two of the HSBC Women’s World Championship golf tournament at Sentosa Golf Club in Singapore on Friday. (AFP Photo)

SINGAPORE: Thailand’s Atthaya Thitikul is one shot out of the lead heading into Saturday’s third round of the HSBC Women’s World Championship.

She trails world number one Ko Jin-young of South Korea, who fired a five-under-par 67 to share the second-round lead with compatriot Amy Yang at 8 under par on Friday.

For first-round leader Patty Tavatanakit of Thailand, it was a day to forget as she struggled to a 74, slipping to a share of 21st place, five shots behind the leaders at the US$1.7-million tournament.

Ko was two shots off the pace at the beginning of the day but got off to a good start with an opening birdie, before sinking another pair of birdies on holes seven and eight.

She reeled in another two birdies on her closing three holes at the Sentosa Golf Club in Singapore.

Yang also carded 67, firing seven birdies and two bogeys, keeping her on course for her fifth LPGA victory.

The leaders hold a one-shot advantage over Atthaya, Canada’s Brooke Henderson and American Megan Khang, who all carded 68s.

Other Thais in contention include Pajaree Anannarukarn at 6 under, and 12-time tour winner Ariya Jutanugarn at 4 under par.

Despite taking the lead, Ko — who won five times on the LPGA Tour last year — said she was “not really satisfied”.

“My swing felt very different on the front nine, and I thought I played better on the back nine,” she said.

“I’m not sure if that was a mental thing or I needed to warm up more before the start of the round.”

“I just wanted to make more birdies than yesterday,” said the South Korean, who had marked her opening round with six birdies, a double-bogey and bogey.

Yang, who finished tied 12th at the tournament last year, is focused on trying to stay relaxed for the rest of the tournament.

“I want to keep it simple and not overthink too much,” she said.

“There are things which you cannot control on the golf course, and what I can only do is really to prepare well for each shot.”

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