Ainil Johani Abu Bakar of Malaysia Leads by a Single Shot
Tiffany Chan Tsz-ching recovered from a minor blip on the front nine to card a par 72 on day one of the 2017 EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open. Malaysia’s Ainil Johani Abu Bakar stormed to a magnificent 65 to take the overnight lead, a single shot ahead of Thailand’s Supamas Sangchan.
Chan, the tournament’s defending champion, parred the first six holes with some solid putting but the University of Southern California graduate struggled over the next two holes and found herself facing an uphill battle at three-over at the half way mark.
However, with a successful Rio Olympics campaign, and decent results at the NCAA Championships over the last 12 months behind her, the 23-year-old’s big match experience showed as she powered her way through the back nine to finish her round in confident style.
The home favourite said:
“It is always better to have trouble at the beginning than at the end. I had a little trouble on holes seven and eight but we (caddie Steven Lam) worked it out pretty well on the back night with three birdies.”
Abu Bakar, who is playing the tournament for the second time, is having a much better experience on the Hong Kong Golf Club’s Old Course compared to last year when the 27-year-old didn’t make the cut. With eight birdies, four each on the front and back nine, her only blemish today was an unlucky bogey on the third.
Abu Bakar added:
“I putted good today, and made a few out of my comfort zone, as otherwise I wouldn’t have made a 65. It is more humid here than at home. Normally I don’t use umbrellas or towels, but today I used both. This year is so different to last year, when it was so wet and I didn’t make the cut.”
Thai Supamas, who is playing at the EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open for the second time and who is third on the CLPGA Order of Merit this season, is one stroke behind, with China’s Li Jia-yun, and Chinese Taipei’s Pan Yen-ling in tied-third another shot behind.
The second round will tee off at 0710 tomorrow with Tiffany Chan continuing her challenge from the first tee at 1210.
The third edition of the EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open boasts a field of 117 players from 16 nations and territories and is the first and only ladies’ golf event in Hong Kong to offer Rolex Ranking points.
The three-day 54-hole tournament, which features a prize purse of US$150,000, is sanctioned by the CLPGA, the TLPGA, and the Ladies Asian Golf Tour, and supported by the Hong Kong Professional Golfers’ Association, and the Hong Kong Golf Association.
There will be a cut after two rounds, with only the top half of the field competing on the final day. Entry to the event is free. For further information on the 2017 EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open, please visit efghkladiesopen.com and official Facebook page www.facebook.com/efghongkongladiesopen/