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Lin takes lead ahead of crowded leaderboard in Sanya
November 14, 2014

Interviews:
Lin Tzu-Chi (TPE) 66 (-6)
Zi Yi Wang (CHN) 68 (-4)
Xi Yu Lin (CHN) , 68 (-4)
Gwladys Nocera (FRA) 68 (-4)
Babe Liu (TPE) 68 (-4)
Rebecca Artis (AUS) 68 (-4)
Malene Jorgensen (DEN) 68 (-4)

Lin Tzu-Chi, 2014 Sanya Ladies Open

Lin Tzu-Chi of Chinese Taipei emerged from a crowded leader board to take a two stroke lead after the first round of the Sanya Ladies Open in Hainan.

The 24-year-old China LPGA Tour player from Taichung had a late birdie surge to seal a six under par 66 and move out of a pack of nine players previously tied for the lead on four under par.

Her compatriot Babe Liu, Frenchwoman Gwladys Nocera, Denmark’s Malene Jorgensen, Kusuma Meechai of Thailand, Australian Rebecca Artis and Chinese teenagers Xi Yu Lin and Ziyi Wang all carded 68s and looked set to be part of one of the largest groups to be tied for the lead after a round on the Ladies European Tour, until Lin birdied her last two holes to steal the advantage.

Ladies European Tour players Gwladys Nocera, Rebecca Artis and Malene Jorgensen all had four birdies in their bogey-free rounds.

Frenchwoman Nocera has fond memories from China having claimed her 12th career title at last year’s Suzhou Taihu Open. The LET’s current No.4 said: “I didn’t make any mistakes and when I had bad shots they were there, so I just played consistent the whole day and made some good putts.”

Denmark’s Jorgensen enjoyed playing in the 29C heat and was steady with two birdies on the front nine and two on the back. She said: “I hit my driver really well and I hit the approach shots close so it was really easy. I had a five metre birdie putt on the first hole but the other birdie putts were shorter so it was easy. It was really hot though. It was nice on the back nine when the sun was gone but I can’t complain, coming from 10 degrees in Denmark.”

For Artis, the 2013 Helsinborg Open champion from Australia who has been combining competition on the US Symetra Tour with the LET in 2014, this was a superb return to action and she said: “I didn’t play unbelievable out there, I just played with what I had and played pretty solid golf. It’s nice to get that first round under your belt when you haven’t played for five or so weeks. I just managed to keep the ball in play and played my way around the golf course. I had pretty good course management and tried to hit the greens in the right spots to get uphill putts and some good chances.”

The talented and hungry Chinese pair, Lin Xi Yu, 18, and Wang Xi Yi, 16, will now be under the spotlight, as both home hopes have won on the China LPGA Tour this year. In August, Wang surpassed Li’s record from the previous year when she won the Xiamen Challenge at Orient Golf Club aged 16 years and five months. The Beijing amateur, who has verbally committed to Stanford University in 2016, was pleased with her start and said: “The pitching was good and I made five or six birdies on the par fours, so that’s why I had a great round.”

Meanwhile Ladies European Tour member Lin, from Guangzhou, already has four top-10 finishes in the Sanya Ladies Open since finishing ninth as a 14-year-old amateur in 2010. After completing a solid rookie season on the US LPGA Tour, she won the CLPGA’s Sanya’s Hills Classic at nearby Dragon Valley Golf Club last week. She said: “I didn’t have any bogeys but I still missed a couple of chances so I’m satisfied with the score but I think it could have been lower.”

The CLPGA’s No.2 ranked player, Babe Liu, 21, from Chinese Taipei, is also in the hunt after two victories already this season at the Golden Mountain Challenge and Zhuhai Classic. The second year professional opened with five birdies in her first six holes from the 10th and stalled with a bogey on 17 but was level for the front nine. She said: “My second shots were really good and close to the pin so it wasn’t a problem to make birdies.”

Thailand’s Kusuma Meechai joined the leaders on four under par later in the day with six birdies and two bogeys on her card. The 19-year-old from Prachinburi said: “I felt good today and my long game and putting were good so it made the course easy for me. We didn’t have a strong breeze on the difficult holes, so it wasn’t affecting me that much.”

Australian Nikki Campbell, England’s Liz Young and Thailand’s Titiya Plucksataporn are a shot further behind in tied ninth place on three-under-par.

The field of 120 players will be cut to 60 professionals and ties after the second round, with the final 18 holes set for Sunday.

Collated scores after round 1:

66 - Tzu Chi Lin (TPE)
68 - Babe Liu (TPE) , Gwladys Nocera (FRA) , Xi Yu Lin (CHN) , Malene Jorgensen (DEN) , Kusuma Meechai (THA) , Ziyi Wang (CHN) , Rebecca Artis (AUS)
69 - Nikki Campbell (AUS) , Liz Young (ENG) , Titiya Plucksataporn (THA)
70 - Pavarisa Yoktuan (THA) , Yu Yang Zhang (CHN) , Chloe Leurquin (BEL) , Jienalin Zhang (CHN) , Numa Gulyanamitta (THA) , Ziqi Ye (CHN) , Tiffany Tavee (USA) , Charley Hull (ENG) , Eleanor Givens (ENG) , Marion Ricordeau (FRA) , Yu Ting Shi (CHN) , Hsuan-Ping Chang (TPE) , Joanna Klatten (FRA)
71 - Sophie Giquel-Bettan (FRA) , Huei Ju Shih (TPE) , Pei-Yun Chien (TPE) , Nikki Garrett (AUS) , Klara Spilkova (CZE) , Stacy Lee Bregman (RSA) , Bree Arthur (AUS) , Saaniya Sharma (IND) , Wichanee Meechai (THA)
72 - Stephanie Na (AUS) , Stacey Keating (AUS) , Camilla Lennarth (SWE) , Ashleigh Simon (RSA) , Fabienne In-albon (SUI) , Tanaporn Kongkiatkrai (THA) , Holly Aitchison (ENG) , Hannah Burke (ENG) , Maria Hernandez (ESP) , Wannasiri Sirisampant (THA) , Sarah Kemp (AUS) , Qi Tian (CHN) , Cassandra Kirkland (FRA) , Felicity Johnson (ENG) , Caroline Afonso (FRA) , Zhang Wei Wei (CHN) , Valentine Derrey (FRA) , Lydia Hall (WAL) , Ai-Chen Kuo (TPE) , Pan Pan Yan (CHN) , Punpaka Phuntumabamrung (THA)
73 - Li Qing Chen (CHN) , Florentyna Parker (ENG) , Sherman Santhiwiwatthanaphong (THA) , Ajira Nualraksa (THA) , Connie Chen (RSA) , Ainil Bakar (MYS) , Monique Smit (RSA) , Noora Tamminen (FIN) , Nontaya Srisawang (THA) , Ling Ling Tan (CHN) , Ann-Kathrin Lindner (GER) , Yu-Ling Hsieh (TPE) , Kylie Walker (SCO)
74 - Yan Hong Pan (CHN) , Jia Yun Li (CHN) , Pamela Pretswell (SCO) , Leigh Whittaker (GER) , Smriti Mehra (IND) , Hong Tian (CHN) , Thi Nhung Tang (VNM) , Grace Lee (KOR) , Yue Xia Lu (CHN) , Georgina Simpson (ENG) , Sahra Hassan (WAL) , Patricia Sanz Barrio (ESP) , Becky Brewerton (WAL) , Melissa Reid (ENG) , Vikki Laing (SCO) , Becky Morgan (WAL) , Beth Allen (USA) , Minea Blomqvist (FIN)
75 - Victoria Lovelady (BRA) , Saraporn Chamchoi (THA) , Kanphanitnan Muangkhumsakul (THA) , Alison Whitaker (AUS) , Mookharin Ladgratok (THA) , Maha Haddioui (MAR) , Hsin Ning Yeh (TPE) , Li Ying Ye (CHN) , Anais Maggetti (SUI) , Trish Johnson (ENG) , Caroline Martens (NOR) , Neha Tripathi (IND)
76 - Whitney Hillier (AUS) , Tiranan Yoopan (THA) , Aunchisa Utama (THA) , Narisara Kerdrit (THA) , Pimpadsorn Sangkagaro (THA) , Sally Watson (SCO) , Janya Morrakotphan (THA) , Pennapa Pulsawath (THA) , Vani Kapoor (IND) , Cai Zhu Guo (CHN) , Louise Larsson (SWE)
77 - Rungthiwa Pangjan (THA) , Mayumi Chinzei (JPN) , Xin Wang (CHN) , Jade Schaeffer (FRA) , Rebecca Codd (IRL)
78 - Nimmita Juntanaket (THA)
79 - Ashley Ona (AUS) , Jaruporn Palakawong Na Ayutthaya (THA) , Mireia Prat (ESP)
80 - Alexandra Vilatte (FRA) , Ankita Tiwana (IND)
83 - Nanthikarn Rakasachat (THA)

INTERVIEWS

Lin Tzu-Chi (TPE) 66 (-6)

What was the key to your leading score today?

I had nine birdies and I didn’t even think I had that much because I had three bogeys and I was thinking I needed to cover those and do my best. After 18 I counted it up and thought, ‘That’s good!’

I was mad on number three because I missed a putt for par and thought, ‘Oh, I’m so stupid’ and I just made a few more birdies.

How much do you enjoy being at Yalong Bay in Sanya?

When we come here, it feels like we are on vacation, so I am really enjoying it. We have coconut to drink on the course so I’m really relaxed and not thinking about my score.

What was the best part of your game?

My irons were the best part of my game today. I hit really good iron shots. My longest birdie putt was 18 feet on number 10. The weather is good today. I was just doing my best and not thinking of a score.

Zi Yi Wang (CHN) 68 (-4)

How do you assess your first round?

It was a great round. I made many birdies and my putting was great except for one three-putt. Overall I did well on most of the holes I could birdie so it was pretty nice.

What was the best part of your game today?

I’ll have to say my approach shots. The pitching was good and I made five or six birdies on the par fours, so that’s why I had a great round.

Did you find the wind tricky?

Yes, it was. When I started out I didn’t have a start in mind. I bogeyed the second hole and the wind was blowing everything away but luckily I had some short holes coming and I made a few birdies and settled myself down.

What are your expectations for this event?

I’m not looking at the ranking but I’m hoping for low scores: probably three rounds in the 60s is what I’m looking for.

You’ve already won one professional tournament so what would it mean to you to win another one here?

That would be amazing. I don’t think that is one of my targets but it would be an amazing thing to achieve.

Would you turn pro? I’m guessing I’ll have to wait until I graduate in six years.

What will you study? They say that you choose your major after you get in but I want to major in English.

Where did you learn? Here in China, in school basically but I have been to the States many times.

Is this your first time in Sanya? I’m from China so I’ve been here plenty of times.

Have you been doing anything to relax? I’ve walked to the beach a few times but I’ve got school work and I have to study. I’ve got three mid-term exams on Monday right after I go back. World History, Biology, Chinese and Physics on Monday.

Where did you win?In Xiamen in August.

What are your future plans? I am verbally committed to Stanford University and I’ll be going there in 2016, in two years.

When is your birthday? March 28.

What are your hobbies? I really enjoy reading, watching and playing soccer, music, moves and everything. Eating, if that is a hobby!

What team do you support? A Chinese team, in Beijing, my home town team.

Do you have a handicap? I think it’s 1.3.

Xi Yu Lin (CHN) , 68 (-4)

How was your round? I did pretty well today. When I was warming up in the morning I saw it was pretty quiet with not much wind so I wished for a good score and today I played pretty well. I didn’t have any bogeys but I still missed a couple of chances so I’m satisfied with the score but I think it could have been lower.

Today was not very difficult. I still remember two years ago when a total of three under got into the top five, so I think that year was the hardest. Today in the morning, the front nine was quiet but there was a little breeze on the back nine, so it was fine.

Have you been doing anything to relax? Swimming in the pool at the hotel. I’m too scared to swim in the sea because I don’t know what’s inside.

Gwladys Nocera (FRA) 68 (-4)

What was the best part of your game today? I didn’t make any mistakes and when I had bad shots they were there, so I just played consistent the whole day and made some good putts.

Do you like the course? It’s a nice course. The wind is picking up and it makes it really tricky, especially on the front nine. It seems less obvious, the wind direction, so it’s quite tricky but it makes the course more interesting.

Did you need an extra club? One less or one more, yeah.

What have you been doing to relax? I’m fine here in China. I arrived late on Tuesday and I have been sleeping well so that’s the main thing, I think. If you sleep well then you can recover. This afternoon I will take it easy and stay in my room because it’s really hot.

You are quite high up on the money list. What’s your goal for the year now? It doesn’t really have anything to do with the ranking even though I would like to stay in the top five. I’d like to win one before the end of the season so I’m trying in each tournament to play as well as I can. If I don’t win, it’s not the end of the world, but I’d like to win. I just want to play golf really.

Babe Liu (TPE) 68 (-4)

What was the secret to your fast start? My second shots were really good and close to the pin so it wasn’t a problem to make birdies. I hit them really solid and made lots of putts so I feel good for this tournament.

Actually I’m a little bit sick so I’m surprised I can hit that close. I have a cold because the weather has been so different the last few days and I’m not used to it. I think its okay. I’ve enjoyed today and playing with my mum, Sunny, as my caddie.

How were your drives? It was okay. I think it was just that my mum was with me and I felt more relaxed during the round here.

I got three bogeys. On one I hit into the hazard and two where the tee shots were not that good but I can fix that for tomorrow.

How was the wind? The wind was not that strong and I’m used to playing in strong winds in Taiwan.

Have you played in this tournament before? No, this is the first time I’ve come to Sanya.

What have you been doing to relax? It’s really beautiful and the beach is close to the hotel, but I’m too lazy to walk down. I’m really enjoying staying here though.

This is your second year as a professional. I’m just playing in Asia on the CLPGA and TLPGA tournaments and I’m going to Japan Q School next week.

Tell us more about yourself. I’m 21 years old and I live in Tauyuan City.

You won twice on the CLPGA this year and you are ranked second on the money list. What are your goals for the rest of the season?

I hope I can win three times this year and I achieved that by June. For me, I would like to enjoy every tournament. Yes, but this is my last tournament this year.

You used to be a basketball player? Yes, before I was 11, when I started to play golf. I’m 175cm tall so the shortest in my family.

Rebecca Artis (AUS) 68 (-4)

What went right for you today? I just managed to keep the ball in play and played my way around the golf course. I had pretty good course management and tried to hit the greens in the right spots to get uphill putts and some good chances. Early on I made a couple of good birdie putts and then had a good par putt on my eighth and then the first hole, which was our tenth hole which kept the momentum going.

I didn’t play unbelievable out there, I just played with what I had and played pretty solid golf. It’s nice to get that first round under your belt when you haven’t played for five or so weeks.

Were your surprised by the conditions? The first nine holes I thought we might get through with no wind and then it might pick up on our back nine. It got a little bit gusty. Around here it seems difficult to find the right location. It bounces off the mountains and stuff around here so it can be difficult to judge where it’s coming from but it didn’t get up much at all which surprises me really. I thought it would be fairly windy for the afternoon groups but it’s not too bad.

Tell us about your four birdies. I started on the 10th and nearly had a hole in one on 11. I hit a 7-iron and had about a three footer there. I birdied the par 3 on the back nine, 15, and then 16, the par 5 over the water, about four metre putts there. Then I birdied the second, I hit s good drive and knocked it into four feet and holed it, so a pretty steady day.

Is it similar to your home? Yes, it’s grainy and similar to the Gold Coast. I’d prefer the bent but this is a good golf course. It’s always in good nick and overall the course is in great condition. I play at the Glades on the Gold Coast where my coaches are based.

What have you been doing lately? I finished the year off on the Symetra Tour and did well enough to get through to final stage of LPGA, so I got to go home to Australia for five weeks. I had a couple of weeks off, because I’ve played a fair bit of golf this year between the Symetra Tour and the LET so I went home and had a couple of weeks off in Coonabarabran with my niece and nephew.

Malene Jorgensen (DEN) 68 (-4)

What was the best part of your game? I hit my driver really well and I hit the approach shots close so it was really easy. I had a five metre birdie putt on the first hole but the other birdie putts were shorter so it was easy. It was really hot though. It was nice on the back nine when the sun was gone but I can’t complain, coming from 10 degrees in Denmark. I was really relaxed and so I hope for two more days of this.

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