THE COLONY Texas — Xiyu Lin from China made a 10-foot eagle on the par-5 17th hole. It gave her a 6-under-65 score and a one-shot lead in The Ascendant LPGA.
Atthaya Thitikuls bid to become No. 1 was overshadowed by Lin, the late eagle from Lin. Lin was twice a second-place finisher on this seasons LPGA Tour. 1. In the womens global ranking.
Thitikul won in Arkansas last Wednesday for her second LPGA championship this season. The 19-year-old Thai player can now replace Jin Young Ko at number one with another win.
She opened with Lizette Salas and a 66.
Lexi Thompson, who has been playing for more than three years without a victory in the LPGA, had a chance at sharing the lead by making a birdie on her last hole at Old American Golf Club. She made bogey, and was forced to accept being in the group at number 67.
Lin was surprised by Lins eagle, but the circumstances were different. Due to the Tokyo Olympics, Lin missed last years tournament and the quarantine she had. The COVID-19 pandemic caused the tournament in Dallas to be moved to December.
Lin stated that It was 2020 and we were playing in such cold conditions, so I surprisingly found that I hit the ball much further than I had before. So 17 became reachable for my, so I hit a really nice drive and then had a perfect yardages. I then had a great second shot and then made it.
Thitikul is one among two players who mathematically have a chance to move up to No. Ko is at home in South Korea, resting an ailing left hand. Thitikul is No. 1.
Nelly Korda is another, and her chances took a hit after she opened with a 75. Korda was an Olympic gold medalist and missed four months because of a blood clot. She has yet to win on this years LPGA.
Thitikul was able to come to life on a firm course after she had scored three consecutive birdies. Although the course is not as challenging as the Arkansas course where Thitikul won last week, the Thai teenager is adapting.
Thitikul stated, Pretty firm and its run-out like every hole, and the green is tricky as well. But yeah, pretty good today. Hitting pretty good. I have many chances to make a birdie.
She was one of three Thai golfers to finish in the top ten after the first round. Moriya Jutanugarn ranked 67th, while Ariya Jutanugarn ranked 68th.
Lin was the runner up in Thailand in the first part of the year. She was also runner-up to Ally Ewing in Cincinnati this month.
I believe my game at this level is in a good place, but obviously Im still trying hard to win the first victory, she stated. So Im just going keep trying and pushing myself.