Vongtaveelap keeps share of lead; Kinhult falters

Vongtaveelap keeps share of lead; Kinhult falters

HONOLULU — Natthakritta Vongtaveelap shot a 2-under 70 at windy Hoakalei Country Club to hold onto a share of the lead Thursday in the LOTTE Championship.

Making her second LPGA Tour start, the 20-year-old Thai player had four birdies and two bogeys in the second round to match sponsor invite Yu Jin Sung at 8-under 136.

“Except windy,” Vongtaveelap said. “Wind, I learn from here a lot.”

In February, Vongtaveelap won her first two events as pro on the Thai LPGA Tour, then was second behind Lilia Vu in the LPGA Thailand. She opened with a bogey-free 66 on Wednesday to share the first-round lead with Frida Kinhult.

Sung had her second straight 68. The South Korean player had five birdies and a bogey. The winner of the 2022 LOTTE Open on the Korean LPGA, she’s competing in her third LPGA Tour event.

“It was really windy today and then just physical condition-wise, I’m still getting used to the jet lag, so it was tough,” Sung said. “Fortunately, the wind direction was the same as yesterday, so it was easy to adjust.”

Georgia Hall and Linnea Strom were a stroke back. Hall, from England, had a 66, and Strom, from Sweden, shot a 67.

“The first four, five holes was maybe a club-and-a-half wind, and then after that it got up to like when I played yesterday afternoon,” Hall said. “It’s pretty windy out there still, so pretty tough conditions.”

Strom rebounded from two consecutive late bogeys to close with her eighth birdie of the day.

“I’m just very happy with how I handled myself in the wind,” Strom said. “I just was patient and just took one hole at a time.”

Grace Kim (67), Christina Kim (67) and Nasa Hataoka (70) were 6 under. Lauren Hartlage (70) was 5 under.

Kinhult dropped six shots behind, following her opening 66 with a 76.

Defending champion Hyo Joo Kim also struggled, making late consecutive double bogeys in a 78 that left her 10 strokes back.

The Chevron Championship, the first women’s major championship of the year, is next week in Texas.


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