Five golfers fired opening-round 65s to share the lead through 18 holes of the LPGA Thailand at Pattaya Old Course at Siam Country Club in Chonburi, Thailand.
Playing with temperatures in the 90s, the event field posted an average score of 69.3, led by the grouping that posted scores of 7-under: Thai Jaravee Boonchant, Anna Nordqvist (Sweden), Nasa Hataoka (Japan), Xiyu Lin (China) and Jennifer Kupcho (United States).
Boonchant, who is from Bangkok, is in her first season on tour following a four-time All-America career at Duke. She earned membership by finishing in the top-45 and ties at 2022 LPGA Q-Series.
“My putter really helped me,” said Boonchant, who played in the event last year on a sponsor’s exemption. “There is a lot of putts that I didn’t even expect it to go in, like the last one, and I’m very grateful for my putter right now. I’m very happy with how I played today. I like how I hit my shots and how I gave myself an opportunity to make birdie putts, to have a birdie putt, so I’m pretty happy with the plan today.”
Boonchant, 238th in the rankings, had eight birdies and one bogey — as did Nordqvist — and hit 13 of 14 fairways and 16 of 18 greens in regulation.
Last year’s LPGA Thailand runner-up, Lin drained six birdies in an eight-hole stretch and also had eight birdies and a bogey on the day.
For Kupcho, it was five birdies and an eagle on the par-5 No. 10 that put her in the lead group.
“I hit a really good drive and had a pretty short club in,” Kupcho said of the eagle. “Still hybrid but pretty perfect club, and it hit just short of the green and rolled up really close to a tap-in.”
Kupcho finished tied for sixth here in 2022. All three of her career LPGA Tour victories came after she led or co-led through 18 holes.
Hataoka birdied the final four holes to grab a share of the lead.
Defending champion Nanna Koerstz Madsen carded a 1-over 73 on Thursday.
World No. 1 Lydia Ko of New Zealand and No. 2 Nelly Korda each shot 68 and are part of a large group three shots off the lead and tied for 17th.
–Field Level Media
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