Eagle helps Thai golfer lead in Credit Union Classic

Kongkraphan looks for second consecutive victory

— One moment, the chip was going to fast. The next moment, it was slamming into the cup, and P.K. Kongkraphan tossed her club in delighted shock.

An unexpected eagle on the par-five 13th hole at Drumlins Country Club's East course propelled Kongkraphan to a one-shot lead in Friday's opening round of the Symetra Tour's Credit Union Classic.

Playing on a calm, sunny morning, Kongkraphan, a native of Thailand, got as low as six under par thanks to that eagle on 13, but a late bogey on 16 meant she would settle for five-under-par 66, one better than Lisa Ferrero and Kendra Little, who also took advantage of the easier morning conditions.

That Kongkraphan was at the top could hardly be called a surprise. Just five days earlier, she had become the 10th different player to win on the Symetra Tour in 2013, taking the Northeast Delta Dental International in New Hampshire.

And she didn't waste any time going to the lead. Kongkraphan birdied each of the first three holes and added a fourth birdie on 6 before a bogey at 7 stopped the momentum.

Three straight pars followed, and on the uphill par-four 11th, Kongkraphan earned her fifth birdie of the day to get back to four under. But the biggest moment lay ahead.

On the 470-yard 13th that bends 90 degrees right, Kongkraphan hit a long drive, but pushed her second shot well left of the green, meaning she would need a deft chip to have a birdie chance.

Right away, Kongkraphan knew she hit the wedge too hard, and the ball was set to go at least 10 feet past the hole when it hit the flagstick dead-on and dropped in. The eagle may have saved her two shots.

No more birdies followed, but despite a bogey on 16, Kongkraphan will still find herself in the featured group that tees off at 12:10 Saturday alongside Ferrero and Little.

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