Sports / Golf

Rising star Hsu takes early lead at CTBC Ladies Open

( Updated: 2014-09-19 14:17

Hsu Wei-ling demonstrated why she is the Taiwanese player to watch on Thursday when the 20-year-old carded a three-under 69 to take the opening-round lead of the CTBC Ladies Open.

In the NT$5 million event, the first regular season tournament to be co-sponsored by the China LPGA Tour and LPGA Tour of Taiwan, Hsu, a regular on the US Symetra Tour, was one shot ahead of fellow islanders Tsai Pei-ying and Huang Yu-chen. Malaysia's Michelle Koh and Chen Liqing from the mainland were two off the pace after rounds of 71 at the Orient (Taipei) Golf and Country Club.

Starting on the back nine, Hsu came out of the gate blazing with an eagle three on the 10th hole after sinking a 25-foot putt for a quick lead among the early starters.

"I was a little surprised because I have not played not very well on that hole. In fact I used to worry about that hole, but today it turned out to be good. It's kind of a reassuring medicine to you when you begin with two-under in one hole."

After making the turn at four-under 32 and then picking up another stroke at the first hole to get to five-under, Hsu, who has won once on the Symetra feeder tour this year and currently sits fifth in the order of merit, struggled in the strong winds as she went two-over on the final four holes, including a double bogey on her last (the ninth hole).

"In view of the strong wind since the first couple holes of the back nine (the front nine), I played well and steady on the back nine except the three putts at No. 6," she said. "On the last hole (the ninth), Li Jia-yun (her playing partner) hit it hard and left on very a long putt, which changed my mind a little bit, and I missed the green with a weak first chip. You know, that hole is challenging with such tricky wind. But I have to say I am happy about this round."

Huang, a 41-year-old who won the individual gold at the 1994 Asian Games in Hiroshima, and led Taiwan to the team gold in the process, turned back the clock with a stellar round that included six birdies. With a chance to take the lead into the clubhouse at four-under, she struggled at the finish with consecutive bogeys on her last two holes, the eighth and the ninth.

"I made two bogeys for the last two holes, but I played well," said Huang, who makes a living as a teaching pro. "It was unlucky at the eighth hole because the ball bounced away from the green. The last hole is a challenge, so a bogey is okay."

Chen, a 26-year-old from Guangdong, put herself into contention for her first China LPGA Tour win with a defensive round in the gusty conditions with three birdies and two bogeys.

"I saved well around the greens. My putting is always consistent and today was no different. I just made 26 putts. Even though I made more putts on the back nine than the front nine, but with such high winds it was hard to make putts on the back nine."

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