Honda LPGA Thailand 2021, Siam CC, Pattaya Old Course: Round One
Patty Tavatanakit and Atthaya Thitikul tie for the lead
When you have played your best and given your best while travelling around the world it must be reassuring and re-affirming to be back on home turf. So it is no surprise that two from Thailand are at the top (on 8-under, 64), and a third, Ariya Jutanugarn, is just one back, tied third with Denmark's Nanna Koerstz Madsen with 7-under 65. Australia's Hannah Green is a stroke back again in a tie with Lydia Ko (NZ) and Caroline Masson (Germany) on 6-under 66.
For Patty Tavatanakit, however, this experience is something else again. Her exuberant win at the ANA inspiration changed everything, significantly, for the better. Patty's love of the game radiates out, - see the alacrity of her leap into Poppie's Pond, together with her coach. Her unreserved enthusiasm and joy in the game and for life itself has to be a real inspiration for many younger golfers.
“I’m just really glad to be back home and be able to eat Thai food every single day,” Tavatanakit said. [Ref here]
“Every time I watch (Patty) play I feel so impressed,” said [Ariya] Jutanugarn. “And Atthaya, she’s really young and how she handles all the pressure and how she’s been playing so well is so inspiring.” [Ref]
Atthaya Thitikul is all of 18 years old, and yes, she too is inspiring.
However the joy of returning home is tempered this year by the strict Covid conditions.
From Beth Ann Nichols, Yahoo!Sports:
Tavatanakit took a share of third last week in Singapore and said that while she’s home for the first time in a long time, the COVID-19 protocols still make it difficult.
“I want to see my family, I want to see my friends,” she said. “I haven’t seen my best friend for two years. It’s just still tough time. I just feel like that, little bit kind of looked at it in a different perspective. Like I’m here to work, not here on vacation.”
From Golf Digest:
Tavatanakit has gained 16 yards from 2020 to 2021, moving from 14th to fourth on tour in average distance at 280.78 yards
Tavatanakit credits tweaks to her swing with coach Grant Waite during the offseason and subtle changes to manage her body mentally and physically over an entire season. More of Patty's story here
From LPGA News:
It was a Thai display of excellence at the Honda LPGA Thailand, where two of the nation’s brightest stars topped the leaderboard after the first day at Siam Country Club. Major champion Patty Tavatanakit, in her first return to Chonburi since winning the 2021 ANA Inspiration, and 18-year-old Atthaya Thitikul recorded 8-under 64s to hold a one-stroke lead heading into Friday. Read more here