Thailand’s Eila Galitsky and Sophie Han of Hong Kong, China, joined overnight leader Minsol Kim of Korea on top of the leaderboard at the halfway stage of the Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific (WAAP) championship.
In Friday’s second round at Singapore Island Country Club, 16-year-old Galitsky (67) and 15-year-old Han (68) played in the morning and made the most of the favourable conditions with solid rounds. Galitsky was on song with her wedges, while Han’s putter was red-hot as they set the marker in the clubhouse at eight-under-par 136, matched later in the day by Kim (69).
Korea’s Jiyoo Lim shot the round of the day, a bogey-free eight-under-par 64, matching the championship record for the lowest round held jointly by Thailand’s Kan Bunnabodee (Abu Dhabi 2021, second round) and Australia’s Becky Kay (2019 Japan, first round). Ten shots better than her opening first round, Lim move up the leaderboard to tied fourth position at six-under-par 138, where she was joined by China’s Zixin Ni (70).
The cut was made at six-over-par 150, with 51 players advancing to the weekend rounds. Among those who made the cut was China’s 12-year-old Yujie Liu (77, tied 32nd), and Xuan Khue Minh Doan (73, tied 42nd), who becomes the first player from Vietnam to play all four days of the championship.
Galitsky, a quarter-finalist in the R&A Girls’ Amateur Championship at Carnoustie last year and tied 35th in WAAP in Thailand last year, said she could feel her game trending in the right direction lately.
After a bogey-free round, the World Amateur Golf Ranking® (WAGR) number 193 said: “I have been working with my Scottish coach Scott Goldie for the last six months and I can feel a big difference. I was in the middle of a swing change at last year’s WAAP, but I am feeling really comfortable with my new swing now.
“My wedges were very good today and most of my birdie putts were inside six to ten feet range. My only long putt was on the 17th hole, where I hit from the fairway bunker to about 20 feet and made that.
“Honestly, being in this position is very, very exciting and a little bit of pressure, but looking forward to tomorrow.”
Han finds herself in a position to create history for Hong Kong, China. No player from her country has ever won the region’s premier women’s amateur championship.
The world number 415, who was tied 29th last year, said she was feeling confident about her chances after a round that had seven birdies, at least four of which came from putts outside 20 feet.
“I will try my best. I am pretty confident because I have been working on many things with my coach last month and I think this result was kind of expected for me and for my coach. It’s showing us what we are working on are the right things.”
Kim made two birdies after the turn on the 1st and 2nd holes, but finished with seven straight pars in her three-under-par 69 round.
“It was hotter than yesterday. It was humid. The round did not go as well as yesterday, but it’s okay,” said Kim. “There are still two days left. I will keep focused on my game.”
Lim, who was in contention last year in Thailand before making a quintuple bogey 10 on the 6th hole on Sunday to eventually lose by five shots, recorded the lowest round of her young career. On Friday, she roared back in contention with a stunning 64 that included five birdies in the last six holes.
The world number 17 was on song with her irons and kept attacking the pins throughout the day. Asked what changed from her Thursday 74, Lim said: “The distance control with my irons was the key.
“On Hole 13, par-3, right before I hit the shot, I changed my club because I could feel the wind change. And that was the turning point for me. If I hadn’t changed the club, I would not have made another birdie on that hole.
“It was about 130 yards. I was going to hit a 9-iron, but I switched to a pitching wedge and hit it to less than three feet. That just gave me so much confidence. I started believing that I could trust myself and choose the right clubs.”
Chinese Taipei’s Ting-Hsuan Huang, the defending champion, shot an even-par 72 to be tied tenth at two-under total, while Japan’s Rin Yoshida, the highest-ranked player in the field at number four, added a 71 to her Thursday 75 and was tied 30th.
A proud Minh Doan, who made three birdies in a solid second round, said: “It feels really special to represent my country Vietnam in the prestigious Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific championship. It’s