Golf: Thais surge in LPGA first round in China


Thidapa Suwannapura hits her tee shot on the 7th hole during the third round of the Indy Women In Tech Championship Driven by Group 1001 at the Brickyard Crossing Golf Club in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Aug 18, 2018.
Thidapa Suwannapura hits her tee shot on the 7th hole during the third round of the Indy Women In Tech Championship Driven by Group 1001 at the Brickyard Crossing Golf Club in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Aug 18, 2018.PHOTO: AFP/GETTY IMAGES

SHANGHAI (AFP) - Thai golfers dominated the opening round of the US$2.1 million (S$2.9 million) Blue Bay LPGA in China on Wednesday (Nov 7), with the world No. 89 Thidapa Suwannapura leading the way.

She shot a four-under 68 on the island of Hainan to take a one-shot lead from compatriot and world No. 1 Ariya Jutanugarn and Canada's Alena Sharp.

Six players were tied in fourth on 70, among them the Thai trio of Benyapa Niphatsophon, Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras and Moriya Jutanugarn - Ariya's sister.

Breezy conditions made it hard going at times and Thidapa, 25, said patience was key.

"Everybody has to be patient when you play hard golf," she said.

"But then with this golf course it's really challenging and it's windy and you have to think where to go, where to miss, so it's kind of fun to play in this golf course."

Bangkok native Thidapa is chasing only a second LPGA crown to go with the title she won in July at the Marathon Classic in Ohio.

Blue Bay is the final tournament in the Asian swing of the US-based LPGA Tour.