New Delhi, March 9 (IANS) Firm favourites and defending champions Korea took a handy two-shot lead over the Philippines at the end of the first day of the 33rd Queen Sirikit Cup golf here Wednesday.
Korea, looking to extend their winning streak to five years, were led by defending individual champion Hyo Joo Kim, who brought in the day’s best card of three-under 69, which included seven birdies and four bogeys.
There were just two under-par scores, with Filipina Dottie Ardina bringing in a 71 with two birdies and one bogey.
India were tied for sixth place at 152, with Gauri Monga carding the best for India with a one-over 73.
Hyo, the World No.1 amateur among ladies, said: “The course is rather difficult. You have to be careful or you can land in the bushes.” While Hyo played straight and smart, her teammates, Ji HeeKim and In Gee Chun, landed in problems and came back with a 76 each. With two best scores being counted each day, Korea were 145, two shots ahead of the second-placed Philippines, for whom Dottie Ardina carded a one-under 71.
Hyo, who has been dominating the ladies amateur scene all over the world, birdied all the par-fives. She hit the ball long and straight, but unfamiliarity with the course, where she was playing for the first time cost her a few shots. “My approach shots helped me and I putted well,” she added.
Hyo was four-under with four to play, but she dropped bogeys on 15th and 17th, before picking a birdie on 18th for a 69.
Hosts India began the tournament well with All India Amateur champion, Gauri Monga playing a round of one-over 73, and 12-year-old Aditi Ashok overcame early jitters to play very well on the back nine and card 79. Vani Kapoor shot 84. Indians with 152 were tied for sixth.
“Basically I messed up three holes and paid the price for it with three bogeys,” said the 17-year-old Gauri, playing her second Sirikit Cup event. “I bogeyed the eighth, 12th and 16th after going into the rough and bushes.” Gauri had two birdies and three bogeys.
Gauri had birdies on the 15th and 18th, as she made up towards the end. “On the 15th I had a good 15-footer for birdie and then on 18th, I reached in three after hitting a driver off the tee and following that up with a 5-wood. I had a good chip onto the green and birdies from six feet. The finish really made me feel good.”
The second round will begin at 7.30 a.m. Thursday.