Kelly gives a good fight to regain momentum

PETALING JAYA: Golfer Kelly Tan remains in high spirit despite a bizarre double bogey at the 16th hole that saw her finishing 41st with an opening two-over 73 after the first round.

The 27-year-old was struggling with her front nine at the Kasumigaseki Country Club yesterday, bogeying the first, sixth and ninth holes to start the day on the back foot. But a resilient Kelly battled brilliantly to regain her rhythm with three birdies at 11th, 14th and 15th to get to par and when she thought that all was good, disaster struck at the par-three 16th.

“The 16th… I hit a great tee shot just right of the flag and when we got to the green, no one could find my ball!” lamented Kelly.

“The official said no one saw the ball. It was around bunker but maybe embedded in the ground? I really don’t know. Some of the spectators who were there thought it landed in the bunker too but there was no mark at all.”

With efforts to locate the ball proved futile, Kelly had to retake the tee shot and received one stroke penalty.

“It was really unfortunate, but I had no choice but to keep going,” said Kelly, who did well to par the remaining two holes. “Overall, I played awesome. Even on the front nine, I had a few good chances inside 12 feet for birdie but I could not convert those tricky putts.

“I’m going to keep trying to put myself in a good position for Saturday (final round).”

Kelly’s pursuit for a medal is still very much alive as she will head into the second round just six shots separating her from the podium position.

Madelene Sagstrom of Sweden set the early pace by firing a 66 to lead by one shot from world No. 1 Nelly Korda of the United States and India’s Aditi Ashok.