Avani opens Women’s Asia Pacific with 68, lies 4th and trails leaders by one

Avani Prashanth of India plays a shot on day one of The Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific Championship at Siam Country Club on February 01, 2024 in Chon Buri, Thailand. (Photo by Oisin Keniry/R&A/R&A via Getty Images)

Pattaya, Feb 1: Avani Prashanth made a smart recovery from bogey start to finish the opening day of the Women’s Amateur Asia Pacific with a strong 4-under 68 card that placed her one shot behind the leading trio.

Avani, winner of the Queen Sirikit Cup individuals last year, and fourth at the World Amateur Team Championships in 2023, had six birdies against two bogeys on a satisfying day.

Three players including Eila Galitsky, bidding to become the first player to win the WAAP twice, her Thai teammate Novaporn Soontreeyapas, who registered a hole-in-one and Chinese Taipei’s Chen-Wei Wu were in shared lead at 5-under 67.

Avani was tied for the fourth place with Thailand’s Pimpisa Rubrong, Amy Im of New Zealand and China’s Yahui Xhang, with all of them returning scores of 68 each.

Of the remaining Indians Vidhatri Urs (73) and debutant Saanvi Somu (73) were tied 39trh, while things did not go well for debutants Keerthana Rajeev Nair (81) and Heena Kang (81) at T-84 and Mannat Brar (82) was 86th.

Avani, winner of the Queen Sirikit Cup and a professional event in Europe in 2023, started with a bogey but finished was pleased with round. She said, “I definitely am. The way I started, I was quite confused about how the day was going to go. But then, you know, I took control of my full round by the time I was on the 13th, and that really put things in place. I’m so glad it turned out how it did.”

“I started on the tenth, which is a par-5. I was really happy last night thinking I’m going to tee off on a par-5, you know, big advantage. But then I proceeded to duck hook my drive and then didn’t get any contact on the ball because I was down in the rough. Then I duck hooked my 3-wood into the left — the fairway bunker and I chunked that. Finally I made an up and down from like 35 yards for bogey. Not how you want to start.”

“I put myself in good positions from there on I set myself up for a birdie on nearly every hole from there. The ones that dropped, dropped, and the ones that didn’t, I’ll probably get them tomorrow.”

Avani had a good run from the 13th to the 16th as she birdied three times. She dropped a shot on Par-4 first, but picked birdies on the second, fifth and ninth for a good day’s work of 68.

On her mindset after the bogey start, she said, “The first thing I told myself after hitting the first three shots was that the tournament isn’t won on the first hole. You have 71 more to go. So that’s what I did, and then, thankfully, I started making some putts.

Galitsky was the top amateur at the Major, 2023 Chevron Championships, one of the three Majors she got into by winning the 2023 WAAP title. Coming into this tournament, she had said she wanted to keep the Salver for one more year.

Galitsky, who made light of the rain in between, could have gone even lower. However, she was happy with the round and said, “Very pleased. I was bogey-free, which I haven’t had one of those in a while. A couple putts could have dropped, but all in all, really pleased.”

On wanting to win again, she added, “It would mean everything. I mean, even being back-to-back is already great, but to do it on home soil is even better. I just don’t want to get ahead of myself.”

Avani played with World No. 4 Minsol Kim and Mikhaela Rianne Malixi, who won the Australian Masters of The Amateurs last month, edging the Indian into the second place. Rianne and Minsol carded 2-under 70 each.

Navaporn Soontreeyapas started with a birdie but gave it back on fourth only to get it back on the sixth. The hole-in-one followed and on the back nine she birdied the 10th, but gave away a shot on 15th before picking back-to-back bridies on the 16th and 17th.

Wu had a clean front nine with two birdies and no bogeys, and then on the back nine she picked three more birdies and dropped one shot on the 13th.



67: Navaporn Soontreeyapas (Tha), Chun-Wei Wu (CTP), Elia Galitsky (Tha)

  1. Avani Prashanth (Ind), Pimpisa Rubrong (Tha), Amy Im (NZL), Zhang Yahui (Chn)

Indian scores: Avani Prashanth (68, T-4); Vidhatri Urs (73, T-39), Saanvi Somu (73, T-39), Keerthana Rajeev Nair (81, T-84), Heena Kang (81, T-84) and Mannat Brar (82, 86th).

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