Golf: Thai Atthaya Thitikul is joint leader as South Koreans soar

South Korean golfer Jeong Yun Ji fired a four-under 67 for a 136 total and a share of the lead with Thailand's Atthaya Thitikul at the Women's Amateur Asia-Pacific Golf Championship.
South Korean golfer Jeong Yun Ji fired a four-under 67 for a 136 total and a share of the lead with Thailand's Atthaya Thitikul at the Women's Amateur Asia-Pacific Golf Championship.

They may be more than 500 rungs apart in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, but Seoul sisters Jeong Yun Ji and Cho A Yean led the charge up the leaderboard on the second day of the Women's Amateur Asia-Pacific Championship at the Sentosa Golf Club yesterday.

Both shot bogey-free rounds at the par-71 New Tanjong Course, but it was the 538th-ranked Yun Ji who stole the show with four birdies and a 67 for a six-under total of 136. She shares the lead with Thailand's Atthaya Thitikul (71).

The 17-year-old Korean fired a warning when she said: "I played average today, not 100 per cent, because I had trouble putting.

"If my putting was good, it could have been seven or eight under today. But I'm happy not to have any bogeys and I'm really excited to be the co-leader.

A Yean (36th) sits one stroke back after firing three birdies for a 68. Filipina Lois Kaye Go is joint third after carding the day's best score (67). The Korean credited her experience playing in multiple professional tournaments in Australia and New Zealand for her steady scoring.

"I was lucky enough to participate in many professional tournaments in and outside Korea," said the 17-year-old. "It definitely makes me feel more comfortable in this huge international event.

"I'm very confident, very positive and I believe I can be the winner.

"For the next two days, driving will be the most challenging thing, because there are water hazards and bunkers in the landing zone, so the toughest (challenge) is to keep my drives accurate."

A total of 53 golfers made the cut set at top 50 plus ties. They include two Singaporeans - 19-year-old Callista Chen, who shot back-to-back 72s to tie for 17th at two over, and 13-year-old Shannon Tan.

Shannon, the youngest player in the 83-strong field, improved with a 72 after an opening-day 78 for a share of 43rd spot.

Callista said: "If they push the tees forward on one or two par-fives, I'm thinking of being a little more aggressive on the longer holes and wedge a couple closer. Hopefully I can cut a few more red numbers and finish under-par for the event."

The winner will earn invitations to the Ricoh Women's British Open, the ANA Inspiration and the HSBC Women's World Championship, which starts on Thursday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 23, 2018, with the headline 'Thai is joint leader as S. Koreans soar'. Print Edition | Subscribe