Malaysia’s Kelly Tan rued a double bogey which spoilt her first round card of 2-over 73 in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 women’s golf competition on Wednesday.
After turning in 39 with three bogeys at a sun-baked Kasumigaseki Country Club’s East course, the 27-year-old fought back brilliantly with birdies on Hole Nos. 11, 14 and 16 to get back to level par for the day.
She then ran up an unlucky five at the par-3, 16th hole after losing her tee shot near the greenside.
“I hit it straight at the flag and it ended by the greenside but we couldn’t find the ball. The volunteers were also there which was very annoying and I had to go tee it up again. I just kept my cool and played my best over the last few holes. The fact that I shot plus two with a double on 16, I kind of managed my round. The 16th just beat me up,” said Kelly, Malaysia’s sole representative in the women’s competition.
Madelene Sagstrom fired a superb 66 for a one-shot lead over India’s Aditi Ashok and American Nelly Korda while defending gold medal winner, Inbee Park opened with a 69 for a share of seventh position.
Featuring in her second Olympic Games after finishing 51st in Rio 2016, Kelly said she was nervous on the front nine before settling into her smooth-flowing rhythm to snare a few birdies on the homeward stretch. She knows the importance of finding fairways over the coming days to give her better opportunities to attack the pins. She is also unperturbed by being off the pace early on, especially when Chinese Taipei’s C.T. Pan had won the bronze medal in the men’s competition last week after opening with a 74.
“I struggled a little bit off the tee but by just a very little, like a couple of feet which makes a big difference here. Sometimes, if you’re unlucky you’ll catch a flyer. Three more rounds, there’s a lot of golf to play. We’ve seen in the men’s that you can shoot 10 under around here, so you never know and you’re not out of it. It’s a marathon and you have to finish strong. I think I can only improve from today,” said Kelly, who is Malaysia’s lone representative on the LPGA Tour.
“I was nervous on the first few holes, but I also know that when you’re nervous and a little off, it can get to you and I just tried to keep calm which I did on the back nine. I want to do well for my country and I think it’s part of our lives. I love being nervous and love having that rush.”