Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum Takes Early Lead at Lorena Ochoa Invitational

This is Pornanong Phatlum‘s first time to play in the Lorena Ochoa Invitational Presented by Banamex, and she’s making quite a first impression in Guadalajara!  The Rolex Ranked 59 Phatlum fired off 3 birdies in a row to jump start her first round, then picked up 4 more before she gave back a stroke and finished the round with a 66 and a 1 shot lead going into the 2nd round on Friday.

Playing in an event where the buzz has whirled around the contest between Rolex Ranked No 1 Inbee Park and No. 2 Suzann Pettersen for Rolex Player of the Year, Phatlum has other concerns.  To be sure, she’d like to put the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in her win column.  Phatlum has 5 top-10 finishes this year but is without a victory.  Her playing today was impressive.  Thailand’s Phatlum reflected with satisfaction, “I had a complete game today.”

Amy Yang is right behind Phatlum going into the 2nd round. Yang also had a solid round today.  The Rolex Ranked 17 South Korean needed only 29 putts in a round that included six birdies and one bogey, and moved quickly into the red numbers today with a birdie at the par-4 second before jumping to 4-under-par with three consecutive birdies beginning at the par-4 fourth.

In a field of of 36, 14 players are within 5 shots of Pornanong Phatlum’s lead and only 11 shots separate Phatlum from Christie Kerr, the 2012 defending champion, who is holding the bottom slot on the board at +5.  This is going to be a very tight contest, and I expect that the leaderboard will be dynamic and volatile throughout the tournament.

Inbee Park, who went to the clubhouse with 68 on her scorecard, is sharing 3rd place with Anna Nordqvist and So Yeon Ryu.  With Suzann Pettersen 2 shots back, Park’s still holding a firm lead on Rolex Player of the Year.  Doing the math, Pettersen is Park’s only real challenger for that honor.  All Park needs to do is stay ahead of Pettersen to hold her off, and she did a bit more than that today.

Park’s putter, which was her new best friend through the first half of the season, cooled off after Park’s historic win at the US Women’s Open in June.  Today Park played her round with 27 putts, and looked like that golfer who was setting records and making history in the middle of the summer.  Park was pleased with her round.

My ball striking was really good today.  I hardly missed any shots out there today, I didn’t miss any fairways and probably missed only a couple greens . . .

Inbee Park, Rolex Ranked No. 1

Play begins Friday when Alejandra Llaneza, Brittany Lincicome, and Christie Kerr take the first tee at 10:20am local time.  Pornanong Phatlum, Amy Yang, and Inbee Park will play in the final group, teeing off at 12:21pm local time.

Local Mexican television will provide live coverage of the Lorena Ochoa Invitational and US fans can get tournament updates at Golf Channel.  I’ll provide a daily wrap-up as well.

Topics: Golf, Lorena Ochoa Invitational, LPGA, Pornanong Phatlum

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