Outstanding teenage golfer Cecilia Cho showed she is ready for this month’s world championships to lead the field – male and female – after the first round of the Port Taranaki Open in New Plymouth.

After yesterday’s round was abandoned with wet weather, the players enjoyed more friendly conditions today at the New Plymouth Golf Club.
Cho, 15, fired a stunning five-under par 67 to lead all scorers after the first round of the $40,000 Charles Tour event.

The two-time New Zealand Amateur champion fired six birdies – three on each side – with a solitary dropped shot in a superb display.
She has a whopping nine shot advantage over her nearest female rival, fellow Espirito Santo team-mate Caroline Bon who shot 76, with Lydia Ko and Chantelle Cassidy tied for third on 77.

The round was an unofficial course record, bettering the previous mark of 69. It can’t be official as the course was lengthened for the tournament by around 250m to mirror the length they will meet in Argentina for the world championships.

The best of the men was local amateur Aarun Langton from Opunake who bagged six birdies, including four in a six hole run, for a four-under 68.

He had a one shot lead over former local amateur and 2008 Taranaki Open winner Troy Ropiha, now a professional out of Taupo. He shot four birdies in his round on a course he knows well.

“I was ready to go for the Pro Am on Wednesday so to finally get going 48 hours later meant you needed to adjust your thinking,” Ropiha said.

“I have the advantage of knowing my way around this place pretty well after playing here for 10 years.

“It was pretty calm today and good for scoring. The course is tremendous. Considering the weather around the country has been horrendous for a couple of months to have the course presented like this is a real credit to the greens staff.

“I hit the ball really well. My putting was not up to my usual standard but you can’t complain about three under for your first round.”

Charles Tour Order of Merit leader Michael Hendry, fresh from a strong performance in the Asia-Pacific Open in Japan, is poised on two-under 70 as he continues his rich vein of form that has seen him rise to fourth on the moneylist on the burgeoning OneAsia Tour.
Seven men shot under par today with a quartet sharing fourth place on one-under 71 including Wairakei Open runner-up Jared Pender.

It was not all plain sailing with Otago’s Thomas Lannie withdrawing with a back injury and Eisenhower Trophy representative Ryan Fox also out after eight holes with illness.

The women’s contest will be finalized over 36 holes tomorrow, with the men facing a cut for the top 60 men and ties for the final round in the tournament shortened to 54 holes.


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    2 Lee, Jang Hyun 83.56
    3 Bai, Joshua 70.11
    4 Zheng, Jimmy 68.22
    5 Ford, Jayden 63.49
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    2 Xu, Fiona 89.87
    3 Son, Yeonsoo 86.85
    4 Kang, Sumin 69.60
    5 Kobori, Momoka 66.67