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August 6, 2009

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Yang lurks close by as Shen races to early lead

SHEN Yanhua took the first-round lead at the US$50,000 Orient Wenzhou Yangyi Championship yesterday when she carded a 2-under 70 in wet conditions in Zhejiang Province.

Yang Taoli, winner of the China LPGA Tour's Beijing leg in May, was one shot off the pace after a 71 at the Orient Wenzhou Yangyi Country Club, while Guo Caizhu was third at even par. Chinese compatriot Gao Shuang was a shot further back after a 73, and Wang Chun and Thailand's Rungthiwa Pangjun were equal fifth following rounds of two-over 74.

Starting her round on the back nine, the 30-year-old Shen got going when she birdied the 18th by putting her approach to within three feet of the pin from 110 yards out. With the weather starting to clear up during her back nine (the front nine), she birdied holes four and five to get to 3-under before missing the green on the seventh hole for her lone bogey of the day.

Shen, equal fifth in Wenzhou last year and equal seventh the year earlier, said the combination of having her husband Wu Liang caddying for her and knowing the course well contributed to her strong round. Her best finish this year was fourth in Beijing.

Good rhythm

"Today I kept a good rhythm. That's why I played very well. I like this course. I had some good finishes here the last two years. This course suits for me because I like the approach shots here," said the Shanghai-based Jiangsu native.

"There are four different champions this year (on the China LPGA Tour). I often wonder when my time will come. I have been close many times and perhaps I have thought too much (about winning) during the competition. That might be the reason why I haven't won. Today my focus was good from my first hole to the last hole. My husband is great help. He always calms me down."

Yang, who also started on the back nine, played par golf through 10 holes before three-putting the par-three second for bogey. After a 12-foot putt for birdie on the par-four sixth hole, she drained a 30-footer for another birdie at the next.

"On the back nine I hit many greens but my putts didn't drop. I had no idea why my putting wasn't working recently. In the final round in Ningbo I also had trouble putting. That's why I was close but won nothing," said the Sichuan native.


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