Pressure-free Benyapa Niphatsopon proved the only immaculate player in the Bt2.5 million SAT-TWT Open Road to World Ranking on Wednesday after a bogey free 67 which sent her the top of the leaders’ board alongside Arpichaya Yubol at Rayong Green Valley Country Club on Tuesday.
While the rest of the field had at least one bogey in round two, Benyapa committed no error at the dampened par 72 6,378 course, carding a total five under-par-139 to share the lead with Arpichaya who shot three birdies against two bogeys for a 71.
“I just focused on one shot at a time today. I hit the iron better than yesterday which is why I had a low score today. The course is quite soaked wet which prevented the ball from rolling,” said Benyapa, the 2017 Player of the Year on the LPGA challenger tour (then known as “Symetra Tour”).
A wrist injury has been the hindrance of Benyapa’s career, forcing her to take several breaks from the circuit. Since turning professional in 2015, she has yet to win a tournament with a tied sixth finish in the 2018 LPGA event in Portland in as her best result on a big tour to date.
Asked if this was the right time to have a breakthrough win, she said: “I didn’t expect anything at all. I’m not even sure whether we will be able to play tomorrow due to the weather condition.”
In fact, Benyapha just resumed training a few days before the tournament as she had to help her mother who is being hospitalized after an accident take care of a family business.
“My mother was injured in a gas explosion, but now she is safe. She is the reason why I’m competing here because knowing that I’m competing is something that makes her happy. I call her every day and receive blessings from her,” Benyapha said.
With the Typhoon Noru hitting many provinces in Thailand, organisers keep their finger crossed that the final round will be completed.
Overnight leader Arpichaya who is in the hunt for her third title of the season hoped all final round actions will be finished ahead of the storm.
“I hope there would be no interruption, so we can finish the round. But things like this are beyond control. On my part, I don’t set a goal to win. I just hope that I can hit the iron better than I did today and have another under-par round,” said the 20-year-old Arpichaya.
Another strong contender Patcharajutar Kongkraphan put herself in contention once again with a 69, and sat just a shot back at four-under-par 140 along with Chayanit Wangmahaporn and Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong.
“I had an inconsistent round but fortunately I managed to hit a 69. Everyone still has an equal chance to win as there is no big margin. We just have to hope for a clear day tomorrow,” said Patcharajutar, winner of five local tour titles in 2022.
The SAT-TWT Open Road to World Ranking is sponsored by the Sports Authority of Thailand, National Sports Development Fund, Siam Commercial Bank, P Overseas Steal (Public Company Limited) and the Panorama Golf and Country Club in Nakhon Ratchasima. Fans can catch up with news updates on ThaiWPGA Facebook Fanpage or at www.thaiwpga.com.
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.