Friday 21 October 2011, Sanya, China: China's Pan Yan Hong grabbed a one stroke lead at the Sanya Ladies Open after a five under par 67 opening round at Yalong Bay Golf Club in southern China.
The stocky 28 year-old from Hebei near Beijing mixed nine birdies with a bogey and a triple on a hot and breezy afternoon on Hainan Island.
Australian Frances Bondad was a stroke back alongside Thailand's Patcharajutar Kongkraphan and Yang Hong Mei of China, with South Africans Lee-Anne Pace and Ashleigh Simon, China's Zhang Yu Yang and Scotland's Vikki Laing a shot further behind on 69.
One under at the turn despite a triple bogey at the par three fifth hole, Pan produced five birdies on the back nine with just one dropped shot to come home in 32 and post the leading score.
The recent Eastern China Ladies tournament champion told reporters, through translation, that she was feeling the pressure over the closing two holes: "I was a bit nervous as I'd had a lot of birdies, but the driver and putting were good and my confidence level is huge so I will try to charge tomorrow," she said.
Her compatriot Yang, 35, from nearby Haikou City in northern Hainan, was more relaxed after a steady round containing five birdies and just one closing bogey.
The former Duramed FUTURES Tour member, who won the 2004 IOS FUTURES Golf Classic before returning home to have a child in 2005, made her score with four birdies on the front nine. She finished her round late in the day and when asked why she had stalled on the back nine, she joked with local media that she had felt hungry.
Australian Bondad, meanwhile, shot to the top of the leader board earlier in the day with five birdies and just one dropped shot at the 17th.
"It was pretty consistent: just fairways and greens. If I did miss the green I'd make up and down. It was pretty steady and I was relaxed. My shots into the green were pretty close and I gave myself a lot of birdie chances," Bondad said.
The 23-year-old from New South Wales is hoping to ignite her season in Asia as she currently lies in 65th place on the LET's 2011 Henderson Money List after 15 events played.
"The season has been a bit poor and struggling a bit so it's nice to get my game together and head together as well," she added. "I like playing in warmer conditions so it feels like home. I played the LPGA event in Malaysia last week as I got an invite so that was good preparation for this event and I played pretty well apart from the last round."
Kongkraphan had a bogey-free 68 and felt it could have been better: "Today I hit 17 greens in regulation but my putting didn't work," she said. "I was inside 12 feet all the time, but missed them. There was not much wind but it was too hot today."
Pace, who is attempting to retain the title, was not complaining about her opening round, after five birdies and two bogeys. She said: "I played really well. I hit the ball fantastic especially the first nine. I made a bad decision on number 2, my 11th hole. I hit it to the back of the green and a very long putt from there and I bogeyed two holes but otherwise I just played really solid. I putted well and I hit a lot of greens.
"I had a really good strike on my irons and I'm back to doing with the ball what I want to do so I'm very confident with my ball striking. I putted well also, just made one bad decision today and that's it.
"My driver I hit really well and made some good putts. I hit two of the par fives in two so that's automatic birdies so that's nice."
Fellow South African Simon was similarly pleased and said: "I drove it really well and my wedges from 70 in, I stuck them in and I holed a few putts which I haven't been doing for the last few tournaments, so that was nice.
"I've made one silly drop on my second hole, I went to tap it in and missed it. My other drop, I hit it in the water on 11 on the par three and still made up and down for a drop so I wasn't disappointed with that. Coming down the last a few more putts could have dropped, but it's there for the next few days."
Sanya Ladies Open
Yalong Bay Golf Club, Sanya, Hainan China
21-23 October 2011
Scores at the end of round 1:
67 - Pan Yan Hong (CHN)
68 - Frances Bondad (AUS), Patcharajutar Kongkraphan (THA), Yang Hong Mei (CHN)
69 - Lee-Anne Pace (SA), Zhang Yu Yang (CHN), Ashleigh Simon (SA), Vikki Laing (SCO)
70 - Laura Davies (ENG), Stefanie Michl (AUT), Christine Song (USA), Nontaya Srisawang (THA), Mika Ikemura (JAP), Jenni Kuosa (FIN), Stacey Keating (AUS), Tania Elosegui (ESP), Kylie Walker (SCO), Minea Blomqvist (FIN)
71 - Ursula Wikstrom (FIN), Guo Cai Zhu (CHN), Huang Ping (CHN), Rui Yokomine (JPN), Russamee Gulyanamitta (THA), Melissa Reid (ENG), Shi Xiao Ying (CHN), Bree Arthur (AUS), Ornthana Chuenarrom (THA), Rachel Bell (ENG), Nikki Garrett (AUS), Felicity Johnson (ENG), Lotta Wahlin (SWE), Lin Xiyu (CHN)
72 - Jeehae Lee (KOR), Li Jia Yun (CHN), Li Dan (CHN), Louise Larsson (SWE), Lisa Holm Sorensen (DEN), Pennapa Pulsawath (THA), Yan Pan Pan (CHN), Shang Lin Yan (CHN), Veronica Zorzi (ITA)
73 - Gao Shuang (CHN), Lu Mei Ping (CHN), Samantha Richdale (CAN), Caroline Rominger (SWI), Li Wei (CHN), Karen Lunn (AUS), Florentyna Parker (ENG), Jennifer Rosales (PHI), Sophie Sandolo (ITA), Beth Allen (USA), Smriti Mehra (IN), Thidapa Suwannapura (THA), Titiya Plucksataporn (THA)
74 - Line Vedel (DEN), Zhang Wei Wei (Am) (CHN), Carly Booth (SCO), Anne-Lise Caudal (FRA), Adriana Zwanck (ESP), Clare Queen (SCO), Ajira Nualraksa (THA), Wang Xin Ying (Am) (CHN), Huang Mei Hao (CHN), Margherita Rigon (ITA), Rebecca Codd (IRE), Liebelei Elena Lawrence (LU), Walailak Satarak (USA)
75 - Yeh Hsinning (TPE), Laurette Maritz (SA), Kaisa Ruuttila (FIN), Saori Ikushima (JAP), Sophie Walker (ENG), Shen Yan Hua (CHN), Wang Yan Hua (CHN), Narisara Kerdrit (THA), Shi Hyun Park (KOR), Riikka Hakkarainen (FIN), Porani Chutichai (THA), Benedicte Toumpsin (BEL)
76 - Jessica Ji (KOR), Tanaporn Kongkiatkrai (THA), Tian Hong (CHN), Gu Guo Yan (CHN), Stacy Lee Bregman (SA), Morgana Robbertze (SA), Pei Lin Yu (TPE)
77 - Bai Yun Yan (CHN), Shi Yu Ting (Am) (CHN), Valerie Tan (BRU), Hei-Ji Kim (KOR), Lynn Kenny (SCO), Becky Brewerton (WAL), Kristie Smith (AUS), Giulia Sergas (ITA), Tan Peng Hui (CHN), Tiffany Tavee (USA), Lu Yue Xia (CHN)
78 - Ana Larraneta (ESP)
79 - Ren Xiao Zheng (CHN), Zhang Hai Ying (CHN), Tandi Cuningham (SA)
80 - Cecilie Lundgreen (NOR), Yu Ling Hsieh (TPE), Ye Zhao Ying (Am) (CHN)
81 - Wang Xin (CHN)
83 - Heidi Chua (PHI)
84 - Xia Xin (CHN), Qiao Chang Yu (CHN)
photos Janos Schmidt