Pattaraporn grabs limelight as women dominate men at golf’s Thailand Mixed
Pattaraporn Mounchoo stunned Thailand’s top male golf professionals on Thursday, shooting her career-best of 60 to set the pace in the Bt3-million Thailand Mixed presented by Trust Golf at Black Mountain in Hua Hin.
The little-known player from Nakhon Ratchasima grabbed the limelight at the mixed-gender tournament, crafting 10 birdies plus an eagle on the 18th for an opening round of 12-under at the par-72 course.
“Everything I tried worked for me today. Even when I didn’t have a good tee shot, I still managed to chip in. It’s by far the best round in my life,” said Pattaraporn, who signed off four shots ahead of 2018 Thai LPGA Order of Merit winner Arpichaya Yubol.
The 24-year-old Pattaraporn’s best result to date is a modest fourth place at a local Challenger event last year, but her average driving distance of 270 yards could prove a powerful weapon in this week’s tournament.
“I may have the big shots, but the men have more experience. What I need to do first is cope with the pressure as the focus will be on me as first-round leader,” said Pattaraporn, who will start the second round atop the leaderboard for the first time in her career.
Lying third five shots off the lead is a group of four women and two men, including seven-time All Thailand Golf Tour champion Prom Meesawat and last year’s Thai LPGA No 1 Atthaya Thitikul.
Atthaya, 18, put herself in a strong position with a bogey-free round of 65, maintaining momentum from her five Thai LPGA victories last year.
“It’s fun to compete with the guys. I’ve been learning a lot from them since the practice rounds,” said the two-time Ladies European Tour winner.
Prom was joined by Suteepat Prateeptienchai as the only men to feature in the top three places. The 36-year-old Prom handed in a scorecard highlighted by six birdies, one eagle on the ninth and a lone bogey on the 12th.
“It’s a good experience for the ladies to play in the same group with the likes of Prayad Marksaeng and Thaworn Wiratchant. Although the ladies have a distance advantage, we men will try to fight hard out there,” said the Hua Hin-based player. The course measures 7,285 yards off the men’s tees and 6,277 yards off the women’s.
Teenagers Onkanok Soisuwan, 19, and Chanettee Wannasaen, 16, are also among the group of players in third place on 65.
Pavit Tangkamolpraset, last year’s All Thailand Golf Tour No 1, is two shots further back after shooting five birdies for an opening round of 67.
“This is my first event in three months, so I still have to get my momentum back, said Pavit, who lies seven off the pace.
“It’s nice to have the ladies in the tournament as they play a different style which we [men] can learn from,” said Pavit.