Dubai: Sportspersons, being the entertainers that they are, have always wanted to be different — both in appearance and in their game.
Thai youngster Supamas Sangchan is one of them. The charismatic 21-year-old from Sukhothai, a tiny city whose name means ‘the dawn of happiness’, did not just look different from the rest of the players at the Omega Dubai Ladies Classic on Wednesday but also played a distinctive round of golf to top the leaderboard at the end of the first round at Emirates Golf Club’s famed Majlis course.
Combining vibrant multi-coloured ‘Loudmouth’ trousers with some sharp tee shots and measured putts, Sangchan dominated the 108-strong field to post an impressive five-under par 67 score.
By the time she had picked up her fifth birdie of the morning on the par-four 17th hole, the tiny Thai in the bold trousers, made popular by the likes of two-time major wining golfer John Daly, had become a source of concern for her more illustrious rivals that included such golfing talents as Order of Merit leader Georgia Hall, Angel Yin, Chaley Hull, Aditi Ashok, Ceiline Boutier and Klara Spilkova,
She was totally in control of her irons and putter that she was never ever under threat of a bogey, playing out the difficult holes at the challenging but fair Karl Litten-designed course, with ease and confidence.
“Today I just stayed on my game,” said Sangchanm who has already banked over 1 million euros since she turned pro in 2015. “Don’t need to make a birdie, but don’t let it go [either]. I tried my best today.”
Her best was good enough to secure a one-shot lead over a pack of five golfers that included Kelsey MacDonald of Scotland, Nanna Koerstz Madsen of Denmark and Minea Blomqvist, who wore blue and white to celebrate the centenary of Finland’s independence,.
Fellow Finn Noora Tamminen, who also sported her national colours and Australia’s Celina Yuan completed the quintet.
Tamminen sruck a hole-in-one at the 140-yard 11th, after teeing off at the 10th but her round was offset by three bogies on the 12, 16th and 2nd holes.
Unfortunately for Tamminen, she missed winning an Omega watch which the event’s official sponsors are offering for a hole-in-one on the 7th hole at the Majlis Course.
Ana Menendez of Mexico and England’s Sophie Walker were among another five-pack who shot first rounds of 69 to lie just two strokes off the pace.
Interestingly, Walker’s caddie is Europro and Mena Tour professional golfer Daniel Hendry, who is a member of the Emirates Golf Club and has caddied in the event for the last 11 years since he was just 12-years-old!
Likewise Kelsey Macdonald had her best friend and PGA Assistant Katie carrying her bag through her round of 69 which was highlighted by six birdies aagainst back-to-back bogeys on the 7th and 8th holes.
However, the Scot was pleased with how she played and said: “[I’m] Very, very happy with my start. I got a good couple of birdies in the first few holes, which was nice.
“One of my best friends’ on the golf bag as well [Katie]. So that also makes it more enjoyable. And got one of my best friends on the golf bag as well. So she’s caddying, so that also makes it more enjoyable.
“I love coming back here. This is my favorite event in the year apart from the Scottish Open.”
Asked about bow the Majlis was playing Macdonald said: “I’m not sure. It’s just got a really good flow to it. Each hole is different, but I just seem to get momentum which is really good.
“And the girls I was playing with both played really well and a good friend as well. So it made it easier.”