Whitney Hillier
  • Team Hillier has a one-shot lead at the Aramco Team Series – Bangkok
  • Patty Tavatanakit fires a six-under-par 66 to top the individual leaderboard

Team Hillier sit at the top of the leaderboard with a one-shot lead at the end of the first day of the Aramco Team Series – Bangkok.

The quartet of Whitney Hillier, Chonlada Chayanun, Krista Bakker and amateur Pattanan Amatanon combined for an excellent first round making the turn in -8 and having an equally good back nine to be 16-under-par for the tournament.

And captain Hillier, whose mother is Thai, was pleased with how her team began their round and the fact they had fun at Thai Country Club.   

“We just made birdies early, so we just had a good vibe. Everyone was gelling pretty well, and everyone was laughing and happy,” said Hillier. “It was a good team and we played well.”

Chayanun added: “I didn’t really make any birdies, but I just kept making par. But these three, they kept making birdies, so I just stuck with par. I just kept missing the putts so didn’t really make it today. I’ll help them tomorrow.”

While amateur Amatanon said: “My goal today was just to contribute to the team a little and the girls were very good and very supportive. I was happy to chip in during the round.”

Team Simmermacher is one shot back on 15-under-par after Magdalena Simmermacher, Charlotte Liautier, Isabella Deilert and amateur Sirapob Yapala all contributed during their round.

The quartet, who began their round on the 10th tee, did not drop a shot on day one and made the turn in -7 before producing a back nine of -8 to be in second place.

Captain Simmermacher said: “I think I picked a good team. We got lucky with the amateur because he’s really good, so he helped us a lot around the course. I think we played good golf today and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

“My putter was really hot, but I still had some three-putts and made some easy mistakes that I will have to work on a little bit. I think tomorrow is going to be fun,” said amateur Yapala.

Two teams are tied for third place with Team Henry and Team Tavatanakit both on 14-under-par having been -8 for the front nine and -6 for the back nine.

In the individual competition, Patty Tavatanakit got off to a blistering start firing a course record 66 (-6) to set the pace and hold a one-shot lead.

Seven birdies and one bogey saw the Thai talent end the day at the top of the leaderboard ahead of Spain’s Ana Peláez.

“It was really fun and relaxing,” said the Major winner. “I kept my round going as well. It is a little different, like the team format is a little different.

“When I played in college we don’t play in the same group, but to be able to play with everyone at the same time and make birdies, cheering them on, it’s a really good feeling.”

Last week’s Madrid Ladies Open winner Peláez continued her good form and signed for a bogey-free 67 (-5) which included three consecutive birdies on her last three holes.

“I am speechless. I had a great round, and I had a lot of fun. I had to be patient because I started well but then I didn’t get another birdie until hole 16. It wasn’t that tough to be patient, but I did want to get more birdies for the team,” said the 24-year-old.

Five players sit two shots behind leader Tavatanakit with Moriya and Ariya Jutanugarn, Marianne Skarpnord, Maha Haddioui and Anne Van Dam all tied for third place on four-under-par.

And two-time Major winner Ariya Jutanugarn was pleased with her first day’s work, although she is still getting used to the format.

“It was just a really good round for me. It was so much fun today. The first round is quite tough because the format is pretty new, so I was so excited,” she said.

“I think I’m always aggressive with my approach – I can’t be more! The main thing is we just keep having fun as a team and keep rooting for the other players. This means so much for me, because I am able to root for others and cheer for them.”

Krista Bakker, Kylie Henry and Felicity Johnson round out the top ten in the Individual competition as they are all on three-under-par.

In the team competition, Team Hull and Team Ariya Jutanugarn are in a tie for fifth place on 13-under, while Team Hall, Team Lampert, Team Van Dam and Team Morgan are T7 on 12-under-par.

The second round begins on Friday at 8.45am (local time) and it will see the conclusion of the Team event.

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