The young star, who made history here at the Phoenix Gold Golf and Country Club Pattaya as the youngest Ladies European Tour winner in 2017 at only 14, bounced back from a double bogey on the ninth to shoot four birdies and one eagle on the 16th for an opening 65.
The Ratchaburi-based player, 18, feels at home on this par-72 layout of 6,328 yards, having clinched the LET Thailand Championship title twice here in 2017 and 2019.
“It always feels great to come back as I have good memories here. Conditions are still pretty much the same but the greens are a bit slower than two years ago,” said Atthaya, who rushed off to work on her drives after the round. A poor tee shot was responsible for her double-bogey at the end of the front nine.
“I putted so well but my driver really let me down. I was hitting to the left and right for a while, and on the ninth my tee shot landed in the bunker. I really need to find my momentum,” added the teenager, playing her third event of the season after competing against the men at the Thailand Mixed where she finished second, and the All Thailand Golf Tour in Nakhon Ratchasima (missed the cut).
While Atthaya blemished her scorecard, co-leader Chorphaka enjoyed an error-free round of five birdies on the front nine and two more after the turn.
“I hit 12 fairways, 15 greens and made 26 putts. I hit some good shots today even it was a bit windy in the afternoon,” said the 28-year-old who married fellow pro golfer and two-time Asian Tour winner Pavit Tangkamolprasert last December.
“I’d love to hit this score again tomorrow. If I can continue like this, I will stand a very good chance this week,” said Nonthaburi-born Chorphaka, whose career highlight so far is a win on the Symetra Tour in 2017.
Following a shot behind in lone third was Kultida Pramphun, who fired a bogey-free 66. Chiang Mai-born Chanettee Wannasaen and Jackie Chulya were in tied fourth on 67.
Two amateurs scored holes-in-one earlier in the day. Praewa Kongpholphrom hit bull’s-eye with her tee shot on the par-3, 149-yard seventh hole before Waraporn Wimonwan repeated the feat on the par-3 159-yard fifth hole.
The Phoenix Ladies Classic is the inaugural tournament of the newly established Thai Women’s Professional Golf Association.
Published : March 26, 2021
By : THE NATION