Wichani Michai (THA) carded two eagles on the final two holes of the first day of the Buick LPGA Shanghai ($2.1 million purse) on the U.S. Women’s Professional Golf (LPGA) Tour to finish tied for the lead with Marja Stark (SWE). South Korea’s Arim Kim, 28, is tied for third, two shots back.
Michai combined an eagle with four birdies and two bogeys for a 6-under 66 in the first round of the tournament at the par-72, 6672-yard Qizhong Garden Golf Club in Shanghai, China, on Wednesday. After starting with a bogey on the first hole and exchanging two birdies for a bogey through the sixth, Michai birdied the eighth and ninth holes at the end of the first round to get to one under par.
He continued his streak of pars in the second half and took the lead on the par-5 17th with a chip shot that holed in for an eagle. The par-4 18th was even more dramatic. His second shot, an 8-iron, holed and he took the lead. It was the 27th time since 1980 that the LPGA Tour has recorded back-to-back eagles after starting with a bogey.
“The chip shot on 17 went in and the last hole was an iron shot that I didn’t expect to go in,” said Michai after the match. He didn’t realize his eagle on the 18th hole was in the cup until he heard the gallery behind the green cheering. Michai’s iron shots were also mediocre on the day, with only 14 balls hitting the 18th green, but eagles on the final two holes provided a dramatic finale.
Co-leader Maja, on the other hand, started the back nine with a clean six birdies and no bogeys. After birdies on Nos. 11 and 13, she went on a birdie hunt on Nos. 2 and 3 and Nos. 5 and 6. Neither player has yet to win on the LPGA Tour. For the first time on Tour, she will tee off on the first hole at 11:38 a.m. in the final group with third-ranked Barbarissa Yutthuan (THA).
With a total of 81 players playing without a cut, tee times for the second round will be determined by day one results. Ten players are tied for third place after shooting 4-under 68. They will tee off at 9:15 a.m. in foursomes of three, teeing off 11 minutes apart on holes 1 and 10. Three of the five Koreans bidding for their fifth win of the season are in the top half of the leaderboard.스포츠토토
Second-year Tour player Hye-Jin Choi, 23, shot an even-par 71 and will start on the 10th hole in a tie for 37th place with Chen Pei-Yun (TAI) and Patti Tabatanakit (THA). Hae-ran Hwang, 22, who earned her first career victory as a rookie two weeks ago, dropped two strokes and is tied for 60th and will start on the 10th hole at 10:43.
The tournament in China hasn’t been played since 2020 due to the pandemic. Danielle Kang, who won back-to-back titles in 2018 and 19, dropped four strokes to finish tied for third. In the first year, he dropped nine strokes on the par-5s, and in 2019 he went 10 under par to win at 16 under. On this day, however, he was only able to shave one stroke off the par-5s.
The second round of the tournament, which features three South Koreans in the top 10, will be broadcast live on JTBC Golf starting at 11:45 a.m. ET.