Wed, 07 Jun 2023

BEIJING, May 24 (Xinhua) -- The Beijing Ladies Challenge got off to a wet and windy start on Wednesday, as amateur Zeng Yu and veteran Yan Panpan each carded a three-under 69 to share a one-stroke lead during first-round play in the Chinese capital.

With the rain starting to fall in the afternoon session at Beijing Orient Pearl Golf Club, Thailand's Wad Phaewchimplee was one stroke behind on 70, tied with China's Meng Lin and Ji Yuai.

China LPGA Tour Order of Merit leader Sui Xiang shot one-under 71 to sit equal sixth with compatriots Cai Danlin, Shi Yuli, Han Yucin and Zeng Liqi and the Thai trio of Wannasiri Sirisampant, Parinda Phokan and Pakin Kawinpakorn.

Taking advantage of the calm and dry conditions during her early morning round, Zeng, a 16-year-old from Beijing, carded a round featuring five birdies and two bogeys.

"My short game was better today. I wouldn't say it's perfect, but I improved a lot," said the teenager, who was low amateur at last year's tournament when she finished eighth. "I need to have a better plan for the next two days. I had a nice birdie at the 14th hole as I successfully executed my plan and left myself a short birdie putt."

For Yan, a share of the opening-round lead came as a total surprise, as the Beijing-based teaching pro was initially reluctant to play in the tournament. Her early round also featured five birdies and two bogeys after starting from the back nine.

"Because I spend a lot of time teaching now, I don't have time to sharpen my own game. But the people around me persuaded me to join the field. I expected to shoot a 74 or 75 going into this event. The best finish for me is to make the cut after 36 holes. Obviously, this score is satisfying," said Yan.

Notable first-round scores included former US LPGA Tour regular Patcharajutar Khongkraphan on 74, while defending champion Sun Jiaze played through a knee injury to shoot 79.

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