Golf: Thai teen Eila Galitsky leads by three at Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific C’ship

Eila Galitsky of Thailand holds a three-stroke lead heading into the final day of the Women's Amateur Asia-Pacific Championship. PHOTO: ANDREW REDINGTON/R&A

SINGAPORE – Thailand’s Eila Galitsky took a step towards replicating compatriot Atthaya Thitikul’s success at the Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific (WAAP) Championship, as the teenager grabbed a three-shot lead after the third round on Saturday.

The 16-year-old mixed four birdies with two bogeys to card a two-under 70 at Singapore Island Country Club’s The New Course on Saturday, to go top of the leaderboard on 10-under 206, placing her in prime position to land the title ahead of the final day.

World No. 4 Atthaya is the only Thai player to have won the competition since it was established in 2018.

Galitsky, who is a citizen of Thailand and Canada, has been neck to neck with overnight leader Kim Min-sol in the hunt for top spot, but the latter’s uncharacteristic bogeys at the fourth and 12th holes, and a double-bogey at the 15th saw her rival claim the solo lead.

Japan’s Yuna Araki was third after carding a 68 to finish the round four strokes back at six-under 210.

But Galitsky refused to get ahead of herself and brushed aside comparisons with Atthaya’s 2018 win.

She said: “Of course, I am aware that Atthaya won the championship here in Singapore, but let’s not jinx anything.

“I wasn’t playing as well as I did yesterday, but I was very happy with the way I hit the driver, especially in the stretch from the 12th hole onwards. That was when I thought I was getting an upper hand against Min-sol, because she seemed to be struggling a bit towards the end.

“I have led a few Thai events going into the final round, but nothing of this stature. I am very excited about the final round and looking forward to it.”

While Kim had a good start to the round with birdies in the first two holes, she was unable to maintain her form, adding two bogeys and a double-bogey to her scorecard. Her only other birdie came on the 18th hole as she signed for a one-over 73.

But not all is lost for the 15-year-old, who said: “Compared to the previous two rounds, I was a little bit disappointed. Today’s start was good, but the first bogey I made was my mistake and I was really disappointed with that.

“After that, my rhythm wasn’t really what I wanted. I gave myself a few chances on the back nine but I missed them.

“But I am happy that I managed to make a birdie on the 18th hole. I am just three shots behind, and I think it is going to be a very interesting final round.”

Joint overnight leader Kim Min-sol dropped to second place after carding a one-over 73 on the third day of the Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific Championship. PHOTO: ANDREW REDINGTON/R&A

Singapore’s Aloysa Atienza got the tournament’s first hole-in-one, as she made an ace with her eight-iron on the par-three sixth hole from 149 yards. This came after the 24-year-old bogeyed eight of her previous 16 holes.

Singapore’s Aloysa Atienza got the first ace of the Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific Championship. PHOTO: YONG TECK LIM/R&A

The 2021 SEA Games silver medallist, who is joint-last on 228 after a 78, said: “I just could not make any putts throughout the day and I did not want to use my putter any more. And then, I hit the tee shot on the eighth exactly how and where I wanted to hit it.

“It is my first hole-in-one in a championship round, so very happy about that. That was one way of making sure I did not have to make a putt on that hole.”

Defending champion Huang Ting-Hsuan from Chinese Taipei shot an even-par 72 to be tied 13th at two-under 214, while Japan’s Rin Yoshida, the highest-ranked player in the field who is fourth in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, also shot 72 to be tied 24th at two over.

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