Welland golfer has rough start

Ariya Jutanugarn of Bangkok, Thailand leads the 2012 Royale Cup Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship after the first round of competition at Lethbridge Country Club in Lethbridge, Alta.

Jutanugarn, 16, is currently ranked at No. 2 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, and last year she was named the American Junior Golf Association’s Rolex Junior Player of the Year. She currently leads the Royale Cup Canadian Women`s Amateur Championship field by a single shot at 3-under par 69, thanks to a bogey-free first round that included three birdies. With this score, Jutanugarn ties the course record at Lethbridge Country Club, despite strong winds.

Sitting in 16th place is Jennifer Kirby of Paris, ON, with a 75 three-over par. Rachel Pollock of Guelph, ON, is 21st with a four over par 76 and Welland’s Stefi Markovich shot a 14 over par 86 to sit at 104th. In Mid-Amateur play, she is 17th.

Jutanugarn’s older sister Moriya, who is currently ranked at #9 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, is also competing for the Royale Cup Canadian Women’s Amateur title. The 17-year-old sits in a tie for 10th position at 2-over par 74.

Natalie Gleadall of Stratford, Ont. and Team Canada’s Jisoo Keel of Coquitlam, B.C. are currently tied for second place at 2-under par 70. Gleadall, 21, birdied five of the last six holes despite a birdie-free first 12 holes that included a bogey and a double bogey, while Keel, 16, scored four birdies and one double bogey on the day.