BEIJING, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- Piyathida Ployumsri set the early pace at the BridgeCC CLPGA Beijing Heritage on Wednesday as the Thai veteran opened with a six-under 66 for a one shot lead in the Chinese capital.
Singaporean rookie pro Amanda Tan was second on 67, a shot ahead of South Korean Bae In-ji and China's Sui Xiang at 68. Saranporn Langkulgasettrin, the China LPGA Tour Order of Merit leader, was equal fifth as the Thai shot 69 to sit tied with Chinese amateurs Wang Xinying and Ji Yifan at the RMB200,000 tournament.
Starting her early morning round on the Beijing Orient Tianxing Country Club back nine, Piyathida came out firing with three birdies and an eagle two at the 406-yard 17th hole to make the turn at 31. After dropping her only stroke of the day with a five at the 362-yard second, she closed with consecutive birdies starting from the eighth hole.
With thunder threatening play and coming off a two-week break for injury where she didn't play any golf, the 23-year-old was surprised by her round.
"This is actually the first tournament after the injury, it's quite an amazing result for me," said Piyathida. "The golf course is nice. The standard of Chinese golf courses are pretty nice. It's not so easy for me and not too difficult for me. Today my driver and irons are good, my putting is normal, my irons made me have the opportunity to make birdies. Tomorrow, I will just play the same game plan. I won't be too aggressive."
Tan, who turned professional in February, opened with a round that featured seven birdies and two bogeys. The teenager said the Tianxing fairways were longer than most clubs, but their narrowness fitted well with her game.
"I feel good today, my irons and putting are good," said the Sentosa Golf Club product.
"I won't change my game play. If the iron is good tomorrow I will be aggressive. If it is not good enough I will change a little."
Sui, another rookie pro, said the conditions got better as her round progressed. Her round included five birdies against a lone bogey at the 399-yard, par-four third hole.
"This is the first day, nothing is impossible over the next two days. Tomorrow I will keep the condition and game plan as I had today," said the 18-year-old Guangdong native. "This golf course you need to play accurately. I will try to avoid shooting the ball into the rough."
The BridgeCC CLPGA Beijing Heritage is the second in a series of new events this year featuring low purses that are designed to give young players from China and around the region playing experience in a tournament setting.
Ning Yu, founder and chairman of Bridge CC, a multiplatform sports service agency, said the purpose of this event was to bring sport and education closer together to give more teenagers the opportunity to play with professional golfers.
"Sports is an inseparable part of education, including frustration education, fair competition and teamwork," he said. "In the near future, I believe that in the next five to 10 years, the China LPGA Tour will be the same as the Chinese economy and achieve remarkable results."
Beijing Orient Tianxing Country Club is a 6,270-yard, par-72 layout designed by TK Pen.
BridgeCC CLPGA Beijing Heritage first round leading scores (China unless stated; *denotes amateur)
66 - Piyathida Ployumsri (Thailand)
67 - Amanda Tan (Singapore)
68 - Sui Xiang, Bae In-ji (South Korea)
69 - Wang Xinying*, Ji Yifan*, Saranporn Langkulgasettrin (Thailand)
70 - Tiranan Yoopan (Thailand), Titiya Plucksataporn (Thailand), Huang Wan-ping (Chinese Taipei), Han Yucen*
71 - Wang Mengzhu, Jiang Yanjiao, Sun Jiaze*
72 - Yan Panpan, Cho A-ra (South Korea), Supakchaya Pattaranakrueang (Thailand), Michelle Ko (Malaysia), Liu Yiyi*, Chen Yu-ju (Chinese Taipei), Sock Hwee Koh (Singapore), Ren Yue*, Katherine Zhu (United States), Saruttaya Ngamusawan (Thailand), Ma Wenyan*