Chanettee trails Schmelzel by 2

Chanettee trails Schmelzel by 2

Chanettee Wannasaen tees off during the first round of the HSBC Women's World Championship in Singapore. Hsbcgolf hsbcgolf
Chanettee Wannasaen tees off during the first round of the HSBC Women's World Championship in Singapore. Hsbcgolf hsbcgolf

Singapore: Thailand's Chanettee Wannasaen is two shots off the pace after the first round of the HSBC Women's World Championship in Singapore yesterday.

Chanettee shot a bogey-free two-under-par 70 to stay two shots behind surprise leader Sarah Schmelzel of the United States at Sentosa Golf Club.

The 20-year-old Thai is at tied fifth place alongside Leona Maguire, Andrea Lee, Kim Hyo-Joo and Chun In-Gee.

World No.107 Schmelzel found herself a stroke clear at the head of the field after a four-under 68.

Top-ranked American Lilia Vu was in a three-way tie for second with Sweden's Linn Grant and Germany's Esther Henseleit.

South Korea's Ko Jin-Young, who is seeking an unprecedented treble of titles after winning the 2022 and 2023 editions, is three shots back from Schmelzel in a 13-way tie for 10th place on a stacked leaderboard.

Starting from the 10th and turning at one-over par, Schmelzel, who joined the LPGA Tour in 2019, carded five birdies on a fabulous closing nine to take an opening-round lead for the first time.

"I have not been in this position before," Shcmelzel told reporters. "But I guess there's a first time for everything. I'm excited. Let's see what happens next.

"This is my fifth [LPGA] year, so I'm just trying to get into contention more and get a little bit better every day," said the 29-year-old.

Vu expressed disbelief that no one posted lower than four-under-par around the 6,775-yard Tanjong course that hosts the tournament dubbed "Asia's major".

"I was surprised that the scores were so high. I always expect at least six-under to be the leader. But that shows you how tough the course is playing and it's a good challenge," said Vu.

Ariya Jutanugarn shot an even par 72 for a joint 23rd place while Patty Tavatanakit, who is chasing her third successive title, Pajaree Anannarukarn and Jasmine Suwannapura all shot 73 to share 30th place with third-ranked Celine Boutier of France, Jennifer Kupcho of the US and Lee Mi-Hyang of South Korea. bangkok post/afp

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