Teen sensation Atthaya Thitikul recovered from a double bogey to stage a dazzling back nine performance and shared a stroke lead with Chorphaka Jaengjit after the opening round of the Bt 1 million Phoenix Ladies Classic on Friday.
The local promising star who made history here at the Phoenix Gold Golf and Country Club Pattaya as the youngest Ladies European Tour winner at only 14 years in 2017 bounced back from a double bogey on the ninth hole to shoot four birdies and one eagle on the 16th for an opening 65.
The Ratchaburi-based, 18, feels like home whenever she tees off at this par 72 6,328 yard course where she claimed the LET Thailand Championship title twice in 2017 and 2019.
“I always feel great to come back as I have good memories here. The condition is still pretty much the same but the green speed is a bit slower than it was two years ago,” said Atthaya who rushed back to work at her driver right after the round. Poor tee shot was the reason why she double bogeyed at the end of the front nine.
“Even I putted so well, my driver really let me down. I was hitting to the left and right for awhile and on the ninth my tee shot landed on the bunker. I really need to find my momentum,” added the teenager who is playing her third event of the season after competing against the men at the Thailand Mixed (finishing second) and the All Thailand Golf Tour in Nakhon Ratchasima (missed the cut).
While Atthaya submitted a blemished scorecard, co-leader Chorphaka, a one-time Semetra Tour winner in 2017, enjoyed an error-free round where she produced five birdies at the front and two more at the back.
“I hit 12 fairways, 15 greens and made 26 putts. I hit some good shots today even it was a bit windy in the afternoon,” said the 28-year-old who was married to two-time Asian Tour winner Pavit Tangkamolprasert, also a pro golfer, last December.
“I’d love to hit this score again tomorrow. If I can continue like this, I will stand at a very good chance this week,” said Chorphaka from Nonthaburi.
Following a shot behind at lone third was Kultida Pramphun who fired a bogey free 66. Chiang Mai-born Chanettee Wannasaen and Jackie Chulya were at tied fourth, each with a 67.
Earlier in the day, two aces were achieved by amateurs. Praewa Kongpholphrom hit a hole-in-one on the par 3 149-yard seventh hole while Waraporn Wimonwan did her part at the par 3 159-yard fifth hole.
The Phoenix Ladies Classic is the inaugural tournament of the newly-established Thai Women’s Professional Golf Association.
For further information, please visit www.thaiwpga.com