Renuka takes early lead in the Philippines

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Renuka, winner of the Singha-Sat Toyota Championship in June, took advantage of the sunny conditions in the morning to post an adventurous round.
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Renuka Suksukont set the early pace at the ICTSI Philippine Ladies Masters on Thursday when the Thai opened with a 3-under-par 69 for a one-stroke lead in Santa Rosa City, Laguna Province.

Chinese Taipei’s Chen Tzu-han was alone in second following a round of 70 at the US$80,000 tournament, an event co-sanctioned by the China LPGA Tour, Ladies Philippine Golf Tour and LPGA of Taiwan.

Amateur Yuka Saso was the top Filipina at two shots back after carding a 1-under 71 at The Country Club. She was tied for equal third with fellow amateurs Hwang Min-jeong of South Korea and Hung Jo-hua of Chinese Taipei in a group that included fellow islanders Lee Tai-ling and Wu Yi-ching and Thai Ploychompoo Wirairungrueng.

Liu Yan and amateur Du Mohan were the top Chinese mainland players in equal ninth at even-par 72.

Renuka, winner of the Singha-Sat Toyota Championship in June, took advantage of the sunny conditions in the morning to post an adventurous round that included six birdies, an eagle, two bogeys and a triple bogey.

“It was fun today. On the eagle at hole eight my second shot was 174 yards away and I put it four feet from the hole and I made it. My putts were good today,” said the 22-year-old from Pathum Thani.

“Tomorrow I will just hit like today, hit on the fairway, on the green and put it in. I haven't played well for weeks so I just want to try my best to play well. I didn't set any targets before this event.”

With the rain falling on the Tom Weiskopf-designed layout by afternoon, Chen managed to hold it together to post a round featuring four birdies, two bogeys and some clutch putting.

“I am really lucky today. It rained heavily for the last nine holes,” she said. “I tried to control my rhythm and be more conservative but at holes 13 and 15 I made long putts, especially hole 15 where I made a 30-yard putt. I hope to get my first pro win this time.”

Fujian native Liu lamented a double-bogey six at the 344-yard fourth hole for derailing her round.

“Hole four is easy and I got a double bogey, while hole five is difficult and I got birdie,” said the 19-year-old second year pro.

“I am not satisfied with my putting today, I got 31 putts for the whole round. I kept trying to catch a birdie over the last nine holes but failed. Tomorrow I will be playing in the afternoon and the wind will be stronger, I will pay more attention to the wind."

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Renuka Suksukont in action during the first round of the ICTSI Philippine Ladies Masters at The Country Club in Santa Rosa City, Laguna Province, on December 7, 2017. The Thai shot a 3-under-par 69 for a one-stroke lead.


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