Buhai 5-under in fast start in Thailand

May 6, 2021 | Featured, South Africans abroad

Ashleigh Buhai carded a five-under-par 67 on Thursday in the LPGA Tour’s Honda LPGA Thailand to open her campaign in a share of eighth place.

She made six birdies and a bogey to find herself three shots off the first-round lead jointly held by Patty Tavatanakit and Atthaya Thittikul, both relishing the conditions at home. They had a one-stroke lead over Nanna Koerstz Madesn of Denmark and another woman from Thailand, Ariya Jutanugarn.

“I played the front nine in two-under and I could have been a couple more but for the bogey on five, and then I birdied 12 and 13,” said Buhai. “I holed some good putts there and felt that that was really good going. Then lipped out on 14 and made one on hole 15. So, yeah, it was good.

“The course was soft already, and considering we had so much rain, the greens were still really quick, especially downhill. You have to be very cautious. Uphill into the green you can be more aggressive. I didn’t feel I had to adjust too much.”

Major champion Tavatanakit, in her first return to Chonburi since winning the 2021 ANA Inspiration, and 18-year-old Thitikul recorded eight-under 64s. Tavatanakit’s 64 is her second-lowest 18-hole score on the tour. She is coming off a share of second at last week’s HSBC Women’s World Championship.

Thitikul, competing in her third Honda LPGA Thailand and first as a professional, made two eagles on 10 and 18 to card her career-best 18 holes on the tour. Thitikul said she’s never made two eagles in the same round before.

For Buhai, it will be a question of keeping the good feeling of scoring well going. “My results haven’t been great the last few weeks but I’ve been hitting it well and the putter has been cold, and today that was the difference,” he said. “I holed the putts. Hopefully I can keep this feeling I’ve found and keep the ball rolling.”

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