Defending champion Mizuki Hashimoto
displayed her mastery of the greens to the full as she moved into the lead after the second round of the Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific (WAAP) championship on Friday.
The 20-year-old from Miyagi showed her intent from the very first hole, pouring a 70-foot birdie putt into the middle of the cup, and kept up the positive momentum after that. She needed just 27 putts to go round the Waterside Course of Siam Country Club and carded seven birdies with a solitary bogey.
Hashimoto, a second-year student at the Tohoku Fukushi University (which has produced champions like Hideki Matsuyama and Takumi Kanaya), posted a six-under-par 66 to move to a nine-under- par total of 135, one ahead of Korea’s Jiyoo Lim. The 17-year-old added a second straight round of four-under-par 68.
Chinese Taipei’s Ting-Hsuan Huang (69) is alone in third place at six-under-par, followed by a three-way tie for fourth place between Thailand’s Suvichaya Vinijchaitham (68), Philippine’s Rianne Mikhaela Malixi (70) and Australian Kelsey Bennett (72).
The highest-ranked Thai player in the field, Natthakritta Vongtaveelap, reached eight-under-par in her round at one stage but dropped four shots in three holes late in her round for a 73 that saw her drop to tied seventh place alongside overnight leader Malaysia’s Liyana Durisic.
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Love-in with WAAP
Hashimoto loves playing in the top Asia-Pacific events. Apart from her WAAP victory in Abu Dhabi last year, she was also the individual champion in the Queen Sirikit Cup, the team championship of the region, when it was played in Singapore earlier this year.
“The long putts here are very difficult but I seem to be reading them very well today,” said the World Amateur Golf Ranking® (WAGR) number 16.
“I am happy with the way I played over the first two days. I don’t really care too much that I am on top of the leaderboard. I am just going to play as aggressively as possible during the weekend.”
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World number 13 impresses
Lim, who is the highest-ranked non-Japanese player in the field at number 13, played in the same group as Hashimoto and was in awe of her putting.
After a round that included six birdies and two bogeys, the 11th grade high schooler said: “I thought my distance control with irons was much better today and so was my putting. But I loved the way Hashimoto putts. That was some exhibition. I hope I have learned a few things just watching her and I can include it in my next two rounds.
“My mom is on my bag this week and I think I just shut her out a few times when I was in the zone. But we had lots of fun otherwise. I think I have a good chance to win this after the first two days.”
Huang made a birdie on the 18th to edge closer to the leader. She made six birdies during the round, including one on the seventh hole where she made a putt from 60 feet.
“I am just doing my best. I am very excited,” said Huang, who recently finished fourth in the World Junior Golf Championship in Canada.
“I need to play more aggressive golf. I need my putting to be more aggressive. I made two three-putts today so I hope tomorrow will be better.”
The cut was applied at four-over-par and 53 players made it to the weekend.
Saki Baba, the highest-ranked player in the field at number three in the WAGR, made just one birdie in her first 33 holes of the championship and then finished with three straight birdies in her last three holes to close with a two-under-par 70. She finished the day tied 17th place at one-under-par total.
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Malaysia’s Jeneath Wong made a hole-in-one when she eased a smooth pitching wedge tee shot into the cup on the 113-yard seventh hole.
It was a proud moment for Macau’s Teng Teng Hun, who made the cut on the number after a round of 78. This is the first time Macau has been represented in championship.
ABOUT THE Women's Asia-Pacific Amateur
The inaugural Women's Asia-Pacific Amateur
Championship was played in 2018.
It is played over 72-holes stroke play with the field
to comprise 86 players. Players are eligible based on
their R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking.
It is conducted by the Asia-Pacific Golf
The winner receives an invitation to play in the Ricoh
Women’s British Open and the ANA Inspiration.
View Complete Tournament Information