Chinese player Pan Yan Hong grabs first round lead at Sanya Ladies Open on the Ladies European Tour
First round of the Sanya Ladies Open on the Ladies European Tour (LET) is underway at a warm balmy morning at the Yalong Bay Golf Club in Hainan, China and the young Chinese golfer Pan Yan Hong has now surfaced as the club house leader. Hong carded a first round of five-under, 67 to stay clear of the rest of the field by one shot.
Pulling in a whooping ten birdies through the 18-hole stretch, she stumbled upon a bogey at par-four, 17th and a disastrous triple-bogey at par-three, 5th to settle down for five-under, for what could have been an invincible first round lead.
Australian Frances Bondad started off her day with stunning control over her drive shots and grabbed an early lead in the first round. 23-year-old Australian from New South Wales led the first round for a fairly long time carding five birdies and dropping just one shot at par-four, 17th, until Hong started her blistering round. Bondad is now tied for the second slot along with Patcharajutar Kongkraphan and Yang Hong Mei.
Defending champion South African Lee-Anne Pace also started the day with impressive composure but consecutive bogeys on the opening holes of front nine, forced her to settle down for joint fifth alongside Chinese Zhang Yu Yang, countrywoman Ashleigh Simon and Vikki Laing of Scotland.
Further down the leaderboard, some of the celebrated players on the LET are contending for the joint ninth including Laura Davies, Stefanie Michl, Christine Song, Nontaya Srisawang, Mika Ikemura, Jenni Kuosa, Stacey Keating, Tania Elosegui, Kylie Walker and Minea Blomqvist.
Solheim Cup player Melissa Reid finished for a disappointing joint 19th with her opening round score of one-under, 71. She carded four birdies and dropped three shots along the 18-hole stretch for the first day. Felicity Johnson was also tied for the 19th with her score of one-under. She was able to pull in three birdies but dropped two shots to fall behind the lead.
The Chinese and Thai players on the likes of Hong will be playing the course with an added advantage of playing on the home course, with substantial support from the crowd. Other Asian players including Kongkraphan and Yang will also be hoping to stay clear of the rest of the European entourage to lift the title.
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