Dream start for Tan in Japan

Kelly Tan ©LAGT
Kelly Tan ©LAGT

Nagoya (Japan): Top-ranked national amateur Kelly Tan Guat Chen lies one shot off the lead after the opening round of the Yumeya Dream Cup 2013 on Thursday.

Japan’s Marie Kodama, Hikari Kawamitsu, Yumika Adachi, Ai Origake and South Korea’s Grace Lee carded matching 72 at a wind-swept  Hirao Country Club to share the opening round honours at the US$200,000 Ladies Asian Golf Tour (LAGT).

The 19-year-old Tan,who is playing in the tournament on an amateur invite ahead of the Queen Sirikit Cup in Chinese Taipei next week, was among seven players on one-over 73  including tournament favourite Nontaya Srisawang of Thailand and her compatriot Rungthiwa Pangjan,  Chinese Taipei’s Tsai Pei-Ying and Kuo Ai-Chen and the Korean pai of Bae In-ji and Kim Min-sun.

Tan admitted that the windy conditions almost derailed her chances but good club selection played a major part in her returning with a respectable scoreline.

“I played it safe, and more importantly used the right choice of irons. That helped me a lot to get the ball to the desired areas,” said the Batu Pahat lass, who finished a credible third at the Enjoy Jakarta Ladies Indonesian Open on the LAGT last year.

Unperturbed by the elements, Kodama was satisfied with her round, noting that her approached were well below expectation.”I’m used to this kind of weather conditions, played in even more adverse conditions,” she said.

Fearing the worst, her compatriot Adachi from Kyoto credited her mental strength to come out with a decent score, despite dropping a double bogey on the final hole.

“My second shot went into the bunker and was plugged, then I hit out to over the green and double-putted. I should have exercised more caution but I was too hasty,” said the 26-year-old.

Thailand’s Srisawang noted that she could have returned with an under par score if not for some unforced mistakes. “At one stage I was playing two-under but let loose after making a couple of mistakes. There another 18 holes tomorrow and I’ll cut out the errors and hopefully return with an under-par score,” she said.

Malaysia’s other participant in the tournament, professional Ainil Johani Abu Bakar took a share of 34th after a round of four-over 76.