Former LPGA player Patcharajutar Kongkraphan got off to a great start in the Bt2.5 million SAT-TWT Open – Road to World Ranking following an opening 68 at the Royal Hua Hin Golf Club on Wednesday.

Playing under overcast sky, the 30-year-old from Khon Kaen fired seven birdies against three bogeys to finish atop the first round leaders’ board at the par 72 6,343 layout. She was a shot ahead of unfancied Yupaporn Kawinpakorn, ex-LPGA member Nontaya Srisawang and 16-year-old Kornkanok Sungpankhao.

“I’m quite focused with my game and everything went smoothly. I’m quite proud with my mental game and the way I stuck to my game plan,” said Patcharajutar or “PK” a short name called by fellow players.

Patcharajutar who posted three top 10 finishes on the LPGA Tour has been on a superb form this year, settling as a runner-up three times on a local tour. Despite being unable to win those events, she remains positive about her chance this week.

“Even I didn’t win those tournaments, I’m getting more and more confident to be so close at winning. I know I’m getting there. All I need is to stay patient,” added PK who still hopes to return to the LPGA Tour since her last participation in 2019.

“I need to play in Asia for awhile to regain my confidence. Right now, I feel more comfortable playing at home. Once I’m ready, I will want to play on the LPGA once again,” she said.

Yupaporn, with three birdies after the turn, shot a 69 to sit a stroke back. The 31-year-old from Samutprakarn has a good memory at this course where she produced her best result on homesoil by finishing at second in a match-play event last year.

“I’m quite familiar with this course but it’s still a very tough one. You need to hit the fairways and keep the ball on play all time. If you lose your concentration even a bit, you will end up in disaster,” said Yupaporn, looking for her first victory since winning a China LPGA Tour event in 2018.

Another former LPGA player Nonthiya came back from one over par to fire four birdies on holes No 4, 5, 6 and 8 to finish with a 69.

“I’m happy with my game by hitting a lot of fairways and had great up and down shots. The course condition is quite tough, so I need to adjust to weather well and try to make as fewer errors as possible,” said the 34-year-old Nonthiya who hopes to end the seven-year drought of title since winning in Taiwan in 2015.

Despite her good start, Kornkanok who just turned professional in March hoped just to make the cut this week despite the fact that she won on this course as a junior back in 2020.“My goal is to improve my game as I’m just in my rookie year. I want to learn as much experience as possible in order to improve my game. That’s why I decided to turn pro at such a young age,” said the girl from Karasin.

About Thai WPGA

The Thai Women’s Professional Golf Association has been established with the objective to support and promote Thai women’s golf activities. The association aims at organizing local tour with world ranking points in the near future which will pave the way for Thai golfers to the international arena. In addition, Thai women’s golfers can use the tour to develop their skills to meet the universal standard. Moreover, medium-proficiency level players can gain experience from Challenger tours which can help produce new generation players and at the same time develop golf human resources and systematic golf organization locally.