Thailand’s Patty Tavatanakit kicked off the LPGA Tour’s Spring Asian Swing with a flourish, carding a bogey-free 5-under 67 on Thursday and taking the first-round lead at the 2022 HSBC Women’s World Championship in Singapore. The 22-year-old, who won the 2021 Chevron Championship for her first LPGA Tour title, said she only ranked her play as a “seven out of 10” but also could not find many faults in her day on Sentosa Golf Club’s New Tanjong Course.
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“I feel like everything was pretty solid,” said Tavatanakit, who tied for third in her tournament debut last year. “Couple of shots here and there. But overall, I’m really happy with how I played.”
Tavatanakit sits one stroke ahead of a trio of fellow major champions, as Danielle Kang, A Lim Kim and Inbee Park all carded rounds of 4-under 68. Park is the only multiple winner in HSBC history, taking the title in 2015 and 2017. She staked an early claim to a third title, steadily climbing the leaderboard with five birdies until a closing bogey at No. 18, where she missed her only green of the day.
“I think this golf course really suits me. I think this golf course is not overly long, and that really gives me some good advantage of playing with the long hitters,” said Park, a seven-time major champion. “The course is playing really good for me. I mean, it has over the years, and it is this year as well.”
Kang held a one-stroke lead through 16 holes but bogeyed 17 and 18 to drop into the tie for second. Still, this is the ninth consecutive round that Kang has finished first or second on the leaderboard. She won the season-opening Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions and was second the following week at the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio.
Jin Young Ko’s streak of consecutive greens in regulation ended when she missed the green at No. 4, her first miss in 67 holes. After making the turn at even, she played the back nine at 3-under, with a 16-foot birdie at No. 18 capping her round of 69. Ko, who has been No. 1 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings since Jan. 31, is one of 15 players tied for fifth at -3.
HSBC Women’s World Championship winner Hyo Joo Kim opened with an even-par 72 and is tied for 37th.