Thailand’s Jasmine Suwannapura turned in a flawless nine-under-par 63 to take a slender one-stroke lead in a rain-interrupted opening round of the Maybank Championship in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.
Hannah Green lurks close behind after the Australian went around in 64, while American rising star Rose Zhang was among the chasing pack that finished two shots behind Suwannapura on 65.
South Africa’s Ashleigh Buhai began with a 69 that included five birdies and two bogies.
But the day belonged to 30-year-old Suwannapura, who fired home seven birdies and an eagle for the lead at the Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club.
The two-time LPGA Tour winner started out brightly with three birdies in the first five holes.
Suwannapura tapered off after that, but found plenty of joy in her final six holes which started off with a birdie on the 13th, before she finished off a 12-foot putt for an eagle at the next hole.
She followed that up with another birdie, and finished the day with a flourish after carding a seventh birdie at the 18th hole.
“The results came out really good. It’s a good feeling to start with a low score this week for sure. For tomorrow, I’ll just keep my game, keep in the fairway, find a chance to hit the pin and roll some putts,” she said.
Meanwhile, Green was also happy to turn in a clean scorecard of eight birdies, highlighted by a 20-foot putt on the final hole.
“A lot of people are going to make a lot of birdies. It’s just limiting the mistakes, so it’s nice to be bogey-free today,” she said.
Play was halted for almost four hours due to torrential rain and thunderstorms.
The Maybank Championship is the penultimate event of the Asian Swing and offers a prize purse of $3-million, the most lucrative in the region.
© Agence France-Presse