Zhang holds hot hand in Thailand

SHINE
Zhang Weiwei puts herself in contention for a record fourth China LPGA Tour victory of the year after taking a three-shot first-round lead at the Trust Golf Thailand LPGA Masters.
SHINE
Zhang holds hot hand in Thailand
SHINE

Zhang Weiwei in action during the first round of the Trust Golf Thailand LPGA Masters at the Panya Indra Golf Club in Bangkok on Wednesday. The Chinese ace fired a 7-under-par 65 to take a three-stroke lead.

China’s Zhang Weiwei put herself in contention for a record fourth China LPGA Tour victory of the year on Wednesday when the Hubei native shot a 7-under-par 65 to take a three-stroke lead after the opening round of the Trust Golf Thailand LPGA Masters in Bangkok.

Thailand’s Kultida Pramphun and Mookharin Ladgratok were equal second on 68 at the tournament co-sanctioned by the CLPGA, the Thai LPGA and the Australian Ladies Professional Golf Tours.

China’s Du Mohan shot 69 to sit equal fourth with Thai veterans Prima Thammaraks, Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras, Chatprapa Siriprakob and Chonlada Chayanun.

Zhang, who won the rained-soaked Hangzhou International Championship last weekend, started her morning round from the Panya Indra Golf Club back nine. After five holes of par golf, the 22-year-old got going with four birdies over the next five holes starting at the 15th hole (her sixth hole).

After dropping her only shot of the day with a bogey five at the second hole (her 11th), she rebounded to finish with two birdies and an eagle three at the 483-yard sixth hole (her 15th).

“Today the weather was very good, not hot, and there was almost no wind, which makes today’s course relatively simple. My putter went very well today, so did the irons. They gave me many birdie chances,” said Zhang, who has also won in Beijing and Wuhan this season.

“I will play well tomorrow, continue to maintain good form and concentrate on each shot. If the weather tomorrow is the same I will adopt a more aggressive strategy.”

Rookie pro Kultida carded six birdies and two bogeys in the hunt for her second win of the season. In March, the teenager won the Singha-SAT Championship for her maiden title in the money ranks.

“I played very well today. The putter was going good. This is a very high-quality course,” said the 17-year-old from Pathum Thani. “There was some wind this afternoon but it did not affect my performance very much. Tomorrow, I will be more focused and play steadily stroke by stroke. My biggest strategy is focus.”

Du, another 17-year-old who won her maiden pro title in Zhuhai in June, opened with six birdies and two bogeys after starting her morning round on the back nine. The teenager said her goal was to shoot 3-under each round.

“I like to play the morning game very much. It feit good to play today as a whole without the influence of the wind. It feit that the course is relatively simple,” said the Beijing native.

“I played well with my putter today and created many scoring opportunities. Tomorrow, I hope I can play more solidly and improve my driving accuracy.”

Nicha Kanpai was the top amateur as the Thai teenager shot an even-par 72 to sit seven shots off the pace.

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