KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Thailand’s Jasmine Suwannapura turned in a flawless nine-under-par 63 to take a slender one-stroke lead in a rain-interrupted opening round of the Maybank LPGA Championship in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Hannah Green lurks close behind after the Australian went around in 64, while American rising star Rose Zhang was among the chasing pack that finished two shots behind Suwannapura on 65.
But the day belonged to 30-year-old Suwannapura, who fired home seven birdies and an eagle for the lead at the Kuala Lumpur Golf Club.
The two-time LPGA Tour winner started out brightly with three birdies in the first five holes.
Suwannapura tapered off after that, but found plenty of joy in her final six holes which started off with a birdie on the 13th, before she finished off a 12-foot putt for an eagle at the next hole.
She followed that up with another birdie, and finished the day with a flourish after carding a seventh birdie at the 18th hole.
“The results came out really good. It’s a good feeling to start with a low score this week for sure. I’ll just keep my game, keep in the fairway, find a chance to hit the pin and roll some putts,” she said according to AFP.
Meanwhile, Green was also happy to turn in a clean scorecard of eight birdies, highlighted by a 20-foot putt on the final hole.
“A lot of people are going to make a lot of birdies. It’s just limiting the mistakes, so it’s nice to be bogey-free today,” she said.
The round began under sunny skies and hot conditions, but the weather turned cloudy and grey in the afternoon with thunderstorms leading to a significant delay in play. Fifty-four players completed their first round before lighting in the area suspended the first round.
Eight groups and 32 players were left to complete the first round, and after 3 hours, 48 minutes, they were able to call it a day.
The 30-year-old Suwannapura teed off in the first group of the day off the 10th tee.
“Starting the first couple of holes, I tried to play kind of little safe … because I only played six holes for the practice round and got to walk on the back nine on pro-am day on the cart path, so I don´t really know the course,” Suwannapura said.
“I feel like with low expectation today then the result come out really good. A lot of putts dropped for me, and it´s good feeling to start with a low score this week for sure.”