Bang Shin-shil leads 7-under on day one of KLPGA Tour opener

Bang Shin-sil takes sole lead on day one of the 2024 season opener.

Bang Shin-sil carded seven birdies in the first round of the Hana Financial Group Singapore Women’s Open (S$1.1 million purse, S$198,000 winner’s share), the opening event of the 2024 season on the Korean Ladies Professional Golf Association (KLPGA) Tour, at Tanah Merah Country Club (par-72, 6548 yards qualifying, 6464 yards final) in Singapore on Sunday (ET).

Bang shot a 7-under 65 to take a one-stroke lead over second-place Kim Jae-hee (6-under).

Bang spent the early part of his rookie season last year playing on both the Regular Tour and Dream Tour, but earned his first win at the E1 Charity Open in May to earn a Regular Tour seed. She followed that up with a second victory at the Dongbu Construction-Korea Land Trust Championship in October, becoming the only rookie to achieve multiple wins.

Based on these performances, Bang ranked ninth on the money list, eighth on the Order of Merit, and third on the Rookie of the Year list, and she was crowned the new longest hitter in the world, taking first place overall with a driving distance of 262.4734 yards.

The second-year player put her name at the top of the leaderboard on the opening day, signaling a strong season ahead.

Starting on the 10th hole of the day, Bang got off to a flying start with back-to-back birdies on the 12th, 13th, 15th and 16th holes. He then added a birdie on the 18th to cut five strokes off his first nine holes.

The cruising Bang was unable to reduce her score as she went on a par streak from the first through the sixth holes. However, she birdied the seventh again and added a birdie on the back nine before lightning interrupted play to end the first round with a one-shot lead.

“It’s hot in Singapore, but fortunately it wasn’t too hot today, so I was able to concentrate better,” said Bang, reflecting on his first round, “I felt a lot better with my shots and putts overall, so I was able to finish well.”

“I didn’t make any big mistakes and I kept the green on almost every hole. I didn’t make any big mistakes and stayed on the green on almost every hole,” he said.

Bang, who is in her second season, spent last winter training in Thailand to prepare for the 2024 season. “Last year, I focused on distance, but this year, I focused on accuracy,” he said, explaining, “Thanks to that, I’m more accurate than last year, so I don’t have many big misses.”

“Last year, I was unstable after winning the first game, playing like a rookie. However, after winning two games, I became more relaxed and comfortable,” he said, sharing his mindset for the 2024 season.

“Winning is important, but we had ups and downs last year, so I want to show steadiness (this year),” said Bang Shin-shil about her goals for the season. “This is also the first tournament, so I don’t want to think about it too quickly, and I’m going to play the way I practiced in training,” she added.

Meanwhile, play was suspended twice due to lightning, and only 54 of the 108 players in the field finished the first round.

Kim Jae-hee was 6-under par through 17 holes with seven birdies and one bogey to finish in second place. Seo, Yeonjung Seo, Minjung Kim and Jaehee Lee tied for third at 5-under 67.

Patti Thawatanakit (THA) is tied for sixth at 4-under through 14 holes, while Park Hyun-kyung, Lee Jung-min, Lee Ga-young and Jung Yoon-ji are tied for 18th at 2-under.

Defending champion Park Ji-young is tied for 30th at 1-under, Park Min-ji is tied for 44th at even-par 72, and Lee Ye-won and Hwang Yoo-min are tied for 63rd at 1-over.


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