First-round co-leaders Nasa Hataoka and Su Oh continued their bogey-free play on Friday at the Honda LPGA Thailand, carding matching 65s on Siam Country Club Pattaya’s Old Course. The duo maintained their spots atop the leaderboard at -16, tying the tournament’s 36-hole scoring record of 128 set by Jessica Korda in 2018 and matched by Patty Tavatanakit in 2021.
|T3||Nanna Koerstz Madsen||-15||65-64|
Oh not only matched the tournament scoring record, she shattered her personal best 36-hole mark, previously a 132 she shot twice in 2021. With a tap-in eagle on the final hole, the 25-year-old Australian jumped to the head of the field and will take a 36-hole co-lead into the weekend for the first time in her LPGA Tour career.
“My ball striking wasn’t like, the impact wasn’t very good today. I was just kind of scrambling really well out there,” said Oh, who won the Australian WPGA Championship in January. “I was like, come on, you want to hit some good shots before going into tomorrow. Such a long day, so I don’t think I would want to hit balls after.”
Moments after Oh’s eagle to take the lead, Hataoka birdied No. 18 to tie Oh at -16. “Today’s tee shot, a little bit right and left couple holes, but good second shot from the rough to get to the green,” said the Japanese star, who also set a 36-hole personal best.
France’s Celine Boutier, a player of Thai descent with family in the gallery at Siam Country Club, and Denmark’s Nanna Koerstz Madsen are tied for third at -15. China’s Xiyu Lin rounds out the top five at -14, with American Jennifer Kupcho and Canada’s Brooke Henderson tied for sixth at -12.
Defending Honda LPGA Thailand winner Ariya Jutanugarn bounced back from a first-round 74 with a 4-under 66 on Friday. She enters the weekend tied for 48th at -4 overall, 12 strokes off the lead.
Play was suspended at 2:05 p.m. due to lightning in the area and resumed at 3:47 p.m. All players finished their rounds.
HATAOKA, OH THRIVE OFF COMPETITIVE SUCCESSES
Playing in the final group on Friday at the Honda LPGA Thailand, Nasa Hataoka and Su Oh both carded bogey-free rounds of 7-under 65. And as if often the case, both players admitted to thriving off the success of her playing partner.
“She made birdie a lot,” said Hataoka. “I’m going to try more birdies together.”
For Oh, taking the lead into the weekend is a new experience. She’ll again have Hataoka, a five-time LPGA Tour winner, by her side on Friday. Oh, winless since she joined the LPGA Tour in 2016, knows that she is up for quite a challenge.
“She’s so nice and such a good player that you know that she’s not going to give it away,” said Oh. “It’s still two more days, so I think it’s kind of good that we’re both playing well and sort of trying to keep up with each other rather than not such a good final round or final group.”
BROOKE HENDERSON FEELING THE POWER IN THAILAND
Golf fans love a good driver-off-the-deck moment. Canada’s Brooke Henderson was more than happy to add another one to the highlight reel on Friday, pulling the power club from the middle of the fairway on No. 10.
“It wasn’t a great lie, but it was a preferred lie, so I was like, maybe I could get something decent. It was still not ideal, but it was like, I’m going to try it, and I was able to hit the green in two, which is always great,” said Henderson. “Then I was able to two-putt for birdie. So 3-wood would definitely have been short of the green, so definitely glad I did it and glad it worked out.”
Henderson enters the weekend in a tie for sixth at -12, just four strokes off the lead. She has two career top-10s at the Honda LPGA Thailand, finishing sixth in 2019 and in a tie for seventh in 2018.