Bangkok Post – Atthaya tied for lead at Chevron Championship

Thai star making first start of the year after long layoff with injured thumb

HOUSTON – Thailand’s Atthaya Thitikul shot a 5-under-par 67 on Friday to hold a share of the lead after two rounds in the Chevron Championship, in her return to competitive golf after a long layoff with a thumb injury.

Atthaya, a former world No.1 now ranked 10th, shares the lead with Im Jin-hee in the first major tournament of the year on the women’s golf calendar. Im had a bogey-free round while Atthaya recorded six birdies and one bogey to bring her two-round score to 136.

Lurking just one stroke back, however, is world No. 1 Nelly Korda, who is attempting to win her fifth straight start on the LPGA Tour. She didn’t look like the world’s top golfer with a double bogey to start her day at the par-4 first hole, but she recovered quickly with birdies at two of the next three holes at The Club at Carlton Woods.

Atthaya, a two-time LPGA winner, won the Vare Trophy last season for lowest scoring average. She had not played previously this season because of a left thumb injury.

“I think the mindset was kind of a change after, you know, the injury and then staying in my hometown,” Atthaya said. “So I kind of had a lot of the time with my family, my friends (in Bangkok). And yeah, it was kind of relaxing.

“And coming back being able to play golf again (is) just the most important thing.”

Korda admitted her round had been an adventure.

“Yeah, kind of all over the place on the front nine, but pretty clean scorecard on the back with two birdies,” she said.

Korda said she isn’t thinking ahead to the possibility of winning a fifth event.

“I’m just at the halfway point right now,” she said. “The amount of golf that I’ve played, I still have that to go. There is still a lot of golf left and anything can happen.

“Just going to stick to my process and vibe with it is what my coach says,” she added with a smile.

Im is playing her first major as an LPGA Tour member.

“It’s like (the) first time leading a tournament in the LPGA, so I don’t have any pressure. I enjoyed (the) rest of the round,” she said.

Her bogey-free round featured birdies at 4, 6, 8, 13 and 17.

“Pretty hard to play bogey-free every course, but especially on this course,” she said. “Bogey-free today feels like four rounds bogey-free.”

South Korea’s Ryu  Hae-ran has fourth place to herself after a 66, leaving her at 6 under for the tournament. Another South Korean, Bang Shinsil (65), is in a five-way tie at 5 under.

First-round leader Lauren Coughlin is in that group, as she followed her 66 on Thursday with a 1-over 73. Coughlin bogeyed par-4s at Nos, 2, 9 and 14 but came through with an eagle at the par-five No. 8.

“I would say I didn’t quite hit it as good as I did (Thursday) for sure,” Coughlin said. “I still kind of missed in some good spots and lipped out about a 6-footer on my second hole. Other than that, I played really solid still.”

SOURCE: Bangkokpost.com : Sports   (go to source)
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