Avani Prashanth of India in action on day two of The Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific Championship at Siam Country Club on February 02, 2024 in Chon Buri, Thailand. (Photo by Yong Teck Lim/R&A/R&A via Getty Images)
Pattaya, Feb 2: Avani Prashanth stayed in the Top-5 with another solid round of 3-under 69 in the second round of the 2024 Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific Championships. The 17-year-old lanky Indian began with a flourish with three birdies in the first six holes, but thereafter the putter went dry, and she had just one more birdie and one bogey in her 68.
At 7-under for 36 holes, Avani is Tied fifth, but the leader, Chun-Wei Wu of Taiwan, playing in the second last group after a tenth tee start, was on fire in her second nine. Wu carded 7-under 65 to get to 12-under and five ahead of the Indian.
Avani said she was happy to chase, even though five shots is a big margin. “I have not made any birdies on Par-5s so far, but they are also not all that easy. But I am hoping I will be able get some over the next two days,” said Avani.
Leader Wu birdied five times in her second nine, which was the front side of the challenging Siam Country Club. Wu, who began the day with a birdie-birdie start from the tenth, carded 7-under 65 and was 12-under for 36 holes. Wu held a two-shot lead over second placed Japan’s Minano Muguruma (66) and in shared third place were Korea’s Lee Hyosong (66) and Thailand’s Pimpisa Rubrong (68) at 8-under.
Avani was 7-under and tied for fifth with China’s Yahui Zhang (69).
Apart from Avani, the only other Indian to make the cut was debutant Saanvi Somu (72) who played superbly to hang on for the weekend at this iconic event.
The others missed the cut. Vidhatri Urs, who was 1-over after the first added a 77 and at six-over she missed the cut by four shots. She had rough 7-over front nine at the Siam Country Club. Mannat Brar (82-75) showed a lot of improvement, and Heena Kang (81-79) and Keerthana Rajeev Nair (81-79) also missed the cut.
Avani was happy with her putting and said, “I think the main thing I did well was that I putted really, really well today. Started off average with pulling my tee wood on first and then leaving my approach short, and then had a good 10-footer for par. Made that, and I think that put me into a good roll.
“I birdied 3rd, 4th, and 6th and I was really happy with that. Made a little bit of an error on 9 hitting the hazard and saved bogey there. Putter dried up a little bit on the back nine but then made one birdie and I am glad I finished 3-under. I’m sitting in a good position.”
Avani, who loves to rally from behind, said, “I love chasing, so this has put me in a good positive mind frame that I’m doing what I like and there is no unnecessary pressure on me. I’m just excited to see how it pans out.”
On her putting she added, “I think I made everything inside 15 feet; I saw it and I was making. I think that was something that I hope continues for the next two days. I think I was just reading it perfectly. Everything was falling. I think that was great.
“I think the first six holes I was just amazed at myself how good I was putting. But, yeah, definitely made it a lot more fun to see the par saves. It gets more exciting if you make those par saves.”
The top 50 and ties will now play the final two rounds with the winner getting a spot in three of the five Majors for women.
In addition, the winner will get invitations to play in the 121st Women’s Amateur Championship, the 2024, Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship, the Hana Financial Group Championship and the Women’s Australian Open.