HAINAN ISLAND, China (AP) — Two golfers from Thailand were at the top of the leaderboard after Wednesday's first round of the Blue Bay LPGA tournament.
Thidapa Suwannapura shot a 4-under 68 to lead the tournament by one shot from her compatriot Ariya Jutanugarn and Alena Sharp of Canada.
Six other players, including three other Thai players, were two shots back and five others were three off the lead in the 72-hole tournament, which concludes the LPGA's Tour's Asian swing.
"It's getting better every year," Suwannapura said of women's golf in Thailand.
Suwannapura gave her iron play credit for her round, beating windy conditions that she said she seldom sees at home.
After undergoing surgery on her back almost two years ago, she's still rebuilding her game.
"After surgery I had to change my swing a little bit," she said. "I could not use the same muscles. I usually use a lot of my back, and then broke my back — and then I had to use some other parts."
She said her back was getting "better and better," but lamented her putting.
"I feel like putting, it's a weakness of my game," she said. "I hit it so straight. I hit a lot of fairways. ... Putting, just please putting."