Two young players share lead at Lotte Championship

Thailand’s Natthakritta Vongtaveelap highlighted her bogey-free round with an eagle, and she shares the lead with Sweden’s Frida Kinhult after the first round of the Lotte Championship on Wednesday in Ewa Beach, Hawaii.

Vongtaveelap and Kinhult both shot 6-under-par 66 at Hoakalei Country Club.

Bailey Tardy, Japan’s Nasa Hataoka, South Korea’s Yu Jin Sung and defending champion Hyo Joo Kim of South Korea are tied for third at 4 under.

Haylee Harford, Lauren Hartlage and Japan’s Hinako Shibuno share seventh place at 3 under.

Canada’s Brooke M. Henderson, who won at Ewa Beach in 2018 and 2019, is tied for 21st at 1 under.

Vongtaveelap started with two birdies on the back nine, then added another at No. 3 before she eagled the par-5 fifth hole. She closed her round by chipping in for a birdie at the par-3 ninth hole.

“I feel great, great for myself,” Vongtaveelap said. “Yeah, and hope (the next) three days I will play same as today.”

Vongtaveelap, 20, turned pro in November, then won two Thai LPGA Tour events earlier this year. This week marks her second LPGA start, after she finished in second place behind Lilia Vu at the Honda LPGA Thailand in February.

Kinhult rolled in seven birdies before making her only bogey of the day on her final hole, No. 9.

“It was very solid,” Kinhult said of her round. “Nothing crazy really happened. Yeah, just throughout the day tried to hit some fairways, and then I think I hit most greens, which is helpful in this wind.

“So, yeah, just tried to stay patient out there shot by shot for real in this wind. A lot of the math in my head, so probably going to fall asleep pretty good tonight. Yeah, super happy with the start and pumped for the rest of the week.”

Kinhult, 23, is a Florida State product who was the world’s top-ranked amateur in 2019. She is still looking for her first LPGA win in her third year as a pro.

Kim endured an up-and-down round. She started with a bogey, then birdied four of the next five holes before another bogey. She added three more birdies in a four-hole stretch, made back-to-back bogeys, then had one last birdie.

–Field Level Media

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x