Taiwan’s Chien leads Pattaya LPGA event

Taiwan’s Chien leads Pattaya LPGA event

Thailand's Patty Tavatanakit, fresh off big win in Saudi Arabia, three shots behind

First-round leader Chien Peiyun of Taiwan watches a tee shot at the Honda LPGA Thailand 2024 tournament at the Siam Country Club Old Course in Pattaya on Thursday.
First-round leader Chien Peiyun of Taiwan watches a tee shot at the Honda LPGA Thailand 2024 tournament at the Siam Country Club Old Course in Pattaya on Thursday.

Chien Peiyun of Taiwan holds a two-shot lead heading into the second round of the Honda LPGA Thailand 2024 golf tournament in Pattaya.

The 33-year-old fired seven birdies and an eagle, against just one bogey, to finish her first round at 8-under par 64, two shots ahead of Kim Sei-young of South Korea.

Chien, who joined the LPGA Tour in 2017 and is ranked 113th in the world, is still looking for her first victory on the top women’s golf circuit.

“I wish I could play like this every day,” she said after her round.

Thailand’s Natthakritta Vongtaveelap, who led the 2023 Honda event until late in the final day when she was overtaken by Lilia Vu of the United States, is part of a large group at 5-under par, which also includes compatriot Patty Tavatanakit.

Patty came into the tournament with some momentum, having won the Aramco Saudi Ladies International, a Ladies’ European Tour event that came with a prize of 700,000 euros, last weekend in Saudi Arabia. It was her first victory since the 2021 ANA Inspiration, a major on the LPGA calendar, which helped her earn the Rookie of the Year Award.

World No.1 and defending champion Vu struggled at the Siam Country Club Old Course on Thursday, carding a one-over par 73. But with three rounds remaining, she shill has an opportunity to make a run.

Vu, 26, had three birdies on her first seven holes before her round went south. Successive bogeys at the 10th and 11th were then followed by a dispiriting three more, before she finished with a birdie on 18.

Three Thais are four shots behind the leader at 4-under, including tour veteran Pornanong Phatlum, Jaravee Boonchant and amateur Suvichaya Vinijchaitham.

Former world No.1 Ariya Jutanugarn, who is also the only Thai to have won the Honda event (in 2021) in its 16-year history, finished her day at even par, alongside Pajaree Anannaurukarn, a two-time winner on the LPGA Tour.

The tournament features 72 golfers vying for a total prize purse of $1.7 million.

Patty Tavatanakit of Thailand comes into the Honda LPGA Thailand 2024 tournament with some momentum, having won the Aramco Saudi Ladies International last week.

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