Tavatanakit leads the ANA Inspiration in a good debut for Ciganda and Muñoz

The Thai finished the day as a solo leader with 66 strokes, while Carlota Ciganda and Azahara Muñoz were in the top spots with 70 strokes.


Thai Patty Tavatanakit, 21, finished as the leader this Thursday after the first day of the ANA Inspiration in Rancho Mirage, California, in the first major of the season on the LPGA circuit.

Tavatanakit finished without a bogey and with a card of 66 strokes, 6 under par, on the course of Mission Hills Country Club's Dinah Shore Tournament. The Thai was one stroke ahead of the Irish Leona Maguire and the Chinese Shanshan Feng.

Megan Khang, Swedish Anna Nordqvist and Thai sisters Moriya and Ariya Jutanugarn share fourth place with 68 strokes.

Jessica Korda, Jennifer Kupcho, South Koreans Jin Young Ko and Mirim Lee, Filipina Yuka Saso and England Georgia Hall, Charley Hull and Bronte Law are tied for eighth with 69 strokes.

Good start for the Spanish Azahara Muñoz and Carlota Ciganda, who are tied for sixteenth position with 12 other players at the end of the first day with 70 strokes, four behind Tavatanakit and two under par.

Tavatanakit, in his second full season on the LPGA Tour after leaving UCLA, has finished three times in his career in the Top-10, but has yet to clinch a title. Her best results were a tie for fifth place at the 2018 US Women's Open (her only event on the circuit that year) and a tie for fifth place at the Gainbridge LPGA last month.The Thai started Thursday modestly, scoring two biridies in the first 12 holes, but chaining another three birdies in a row between holes 13 and 15 as well as another one in 18.

"I'm honestly still in my rookie year, so I have a lot to learn," he said after finishing his tour. "Everybody is very good here, I have to show respect to the rest of the rivals. It's not like, 'oh okay, I have dominated the course.' I have to finish it. I still have to make good shots and I have to play smarter. I still have no margin because someone could make fewer shots and go ahead very quickly. "

Tavatanakit also talked about competing against more experienced rivals. "Every day things are not going to go your way, but I feel like my growth will pay off. I just have to keep learning. I may be able to win a title. It doesn't have to be this week. I have a long career for ahead and I will continue playing as I am "

The 26-year-old Maguire opened with two consecutive birdies before bogeying in the third. He had four more birdies and completed the other 11 holes in par. Like Tavatanakit, Maguire was also a rookie on the LPGA Tour last year and is also looking for her first win.

Feng, 31, completed a round without bogeys. The Chinese has 10 titles on the LPGA Tour, including a major, the 2012 Wegmans LPGA Championship.

As for the Spanish golfers, Azahara Muñoz began her journey with two birdies on holes 3 and 5 before committing a bogey on holes 8 that he patched up with another birdie on 9. After a new bogey on 11, Muñoz added another birdie on on the 12th and, despite a new bogey on the 15th, he managed to close the course with a birdie on the 18th for a total of 70 hits.

For her part, Carlota Ciganda also started her journey very well with an eagle on hole two and a birdie on hole 9. However, two consecutive bogeys on holes 10 and 11 slowed the progression of the Navarrese, who achieved another birdie on the hole 15 to finish the day with 70 shots and maintain his options in the fight for the first major of the season.

Photos from as.com

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