The Hamilton Spectator

Henderson four shots back of lead in Thailand


PATTAYA, THAILAND Jennifer Kupcho of the United States fired a bogey-free 7-under 65 to share the lead alongside four other golfers after the opening round of the LPGA Thailand on Thursday.

The crowded leaderboar­d was no surprise on the Pattaya Old Course: The average winning score over the past 10 years is 21 under par.

Kupcho’s round was highlighte­d by a birdie-birdie finish and an eagle on the par-5 10th hole at Siam Country Club.

Of her eagle, she said, “I hit a really good drive and had a pretty short club in.

“Still hybrid but pretty perfect club, and it hit just short of the green and rolled up really close to a tap-in.”

With her in the lead were 2014 champion Anna Nordquist, of Sweden, six-time USLPGA Tour winner Nasa Hataoko, of Japan, local hope and tour rookie Jaravee Boonchant and last year’s runnerup, Lin Xiyu, of China.

Brooke Henderson, of Smiths Falls, Ont., is four shots back of the leaders and tied for 28th after firing an opening-round 69.

Three-time major winner Nordquist birdied her first hole, the 10th and had eight in all against a lone bogey on the fourth.

Hataoka bogeyed the 13th but finished her round with four consecutiv­e birdies.

Boonchant, who earned her tour card through Q-School last December, also started on the 10th and birdied her first two holes. She sparked Thai fans’ hopes for a local victor after former world No,1Ariya Jutanugarn won in 2021.

“Amazing,” Boonchant said of her day.

Lin started on the back nine and birdied six holes coming in for her

65. Last year, she opened with a 64 and reeled off 66s before losing to Nanna Koerstz Madsen, of Denmark, in extra holes. Koerstz Madsen has begun her title defence at 1 over.

World No. 1 Lydia Ko, of New Zealand, leading 26 of the top 30 at the event, had an error-free round of

68. She has won three of her last four starts.

 ?? ?? Brooke Henderson
Brooke Henderson

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