Unfancied Mathusorn Rodnen took a surprise lead following an opening 66 after the first round of the rain-disrupted Bt 2.5 million SAT-TWT Open Road to World Ranking at the Phoenix Gold Golf and Country Club in Pattaya on Wednesday.
Playing in her sixth start as a professional player, the 18-year-old sank seven birdies against a lone birdie on the first hole to grab a stroke lead over heavy-favourite Chanettee Wannasen and Trichat Cheenglab at the par 72 6,328 yard landscape which was hit several times by rain.
“Normally I didn’t play like this, so to be on the top of the leader’s board is quite a surprise to me,” said the Hua-Hin based in her first time leading in a main local tour.
“At the beginning, I didn’t drive the ball well, but I later to hit the fairways better. My approach shots also improved as I hit the ball to the right position to create a lot of birdie opportunities,” added the teenager who eyes on her first top five finish this week.
Teen prodigy Chanettee, with seven birdies against two bogeys, carded a 67 to pose another strong challenge in a tournament after winning six titles this season.
“I could have done better as I made three putts on two holes. But I’m quite confident with my chance this week with my first round score,” said Channettee whose season’s highlights included three victories on the TrustGolf Tour and the National Qualifiers in the Honda LPGA Thailand.
Trichat, a one-time winner on a local women’s tour, fired seven birdies against two bogeys for a 67 to again put herself in contention after finishing top 10 twice on the TrustGolf Tour this season.
“I have to thank my putting game today. I made great putts from everywhere. I just hope to hit the iron better in the next two days,” said the 27-year-old Bangkokian.
Four players followed a stroke behind with a 68. That included 15-year-old amateur Pimpisa Rubrong who had five birdies and one bogey.
“I hit close to the pin positions and made several birdies. The rain interrupted play a few times and it made the green speed a bit slower than usual. I’m glad to come back to play on this course as we haven’t had a junior tournament here for a few years,” said Pimpisa.
The other three were former LPGA players Patcharajutar Kongkraphan amd Budsabakorn Sukapan, Samaporn Khangkhun and Nontaya Srisawang.