Ikeda debuts as pro with 68, shares lead
Filipino Chihiro Ikeda fired a sparkling four-under-par 68 on her debut as a pro Wednesday to get into a four-way tie for the lead after the first round of the Thailand Open at the Lakewood Country Club in Bangkok.
The 20-year-old Ikeda birdied three of her last five holes for a 34-34 card to catch Thai ace Suwannapura Thidapa and Koreans Lee Eun-kyoung and Bae In-ji at the helm in the 54-hole tournament serving as the third leg of the Ladies Asian Golf Tour.
“It’s beginner’s luck,” said Ikeda, downplaying her solid debut in the pro ranks. “I hope to do better tomorrow to put myself in contention in the final round.”
Ikeda, last year’s Philippine Ladies Open champion and former Southeast Asian Games gold medalist, hurdled three tough qualifiers to gain a card on the Japan LPGA Tour late last year.
“She’s ripe for the pros and the Lakewood course suits her game,” said Bong Lopez, Ikeda’s long-time mentor in the ICTSI stable and national ladies team coach.
Jennifer Rosales, the former two-time winner on the LPGA Tour, shot two birdies against a bogey for a 71 to join the big group in 12th place, while amateur Dottie Ardina birdied No. 17 to save a 73 for joint 30th.
Ikeda, Suwannapura, Lee and Bae stood a shot clear of Thais Patcharachuta Kongkapa and Tanaporn Kongkiatkrai, Taiwanese Hsieh Yu-ling and American Jessy Tang, who all had 69s.