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Women’s Golf: University of Kansas junior Yupaporn Kawinpakorn powers to first-round Ilinois Open lead

The winds were as capricious as the scores were high Monday after the first round of the Illinois Women’s Open in Romeoville.

University of Kansas junior Yupaporn Kawinpakorn was the only player Monday in the field of 79 to break par at Mistwood Golf Club, taking a one-shot lead over five who fired even-par 72.

Defending champion Elise Swartout ballooned to an 85. Longtime local pro Nicole Jeray worked on her swing throughout in posting an 80.

“It’s my worst round ever in the Illinois Open,” said Jeray, who was hoping to fine-tune her game for her seventh start this season on the LPGA Tour next week in Michigan.

But others managed to expunge their competitive rust to turn in solid efforts.

Kim Anderson, a former standout at West Aurora and Northern Illinois, posted the low front-nine score of the day with a 34 to become the last of the quintet to record an even-par round.

“I was trying to focus on my game and myself,” said Anderson, who played in the final pairing. “This is the first tournament I have played since the last Illinois Women’s Open. This is really the only tournament I play.”

Anderson was a bogey-6 on the closing hole away from joining Kawinpakorn in red numbers. Illinois’ Ember Schuldt, a native of Sterling, was the lone other state product to join the fray at even-par 72.

Hayley Guyton, a Kaneland product and Illinois State senior-to-be, is two shots off the lead after a businesslike front nine in which she canceled her lone bogey with a birdie. She is in a five-way tie for eighth with a 2-over 74.

“My ball-striking was really good,” the Elburn resident said. “I felt like I could play well if I kept the ball in a good spot, which I did. I had some three-putts (three) that got me to shoot what I shot.”

Bing Singhsumalee, the gifted Waubonsie Valley senior who was the state amateur champion last summer, finished with an 81. The reigning Class AA state runner-up has committed to Illinois. Jessica Yuen, who denied Singhsumalee the individual title last fall, is in the mix after a 77.

“The course is hard in general,” the Neuqua Valley junior said. “Adding the wind makes it that much harder.”

Ashley Armstrong, the former Homewood-Flossmoor standout who is about to begin her senior year at Notre Dame, is three shots off the lead after a 74.

“I am in a good spot,” said Armstrong, who played her back nine in 36. “I’m surprised. I haven’t been playing at all this summer. I have been working, doing an internship. I would say that my round was saved by chipping.”

Megan Godfrey is another in the long line of storied H-F golfers who have returned to test their skills at the Open.

“I only play once or twice a year competitively,” said Godfrey, who fired a 75 out of the lead threesome to hover around top 10 status. “I was impressed with myself.”

Krystal Garritson (Lockport) finished with an 81; incoming Sandburg senior Francesca Saban was at 86, and Hazel Crest native Angela Dehning had an 87.

Stephanie Miller, an Illinois sophomore and two-time Class AA state champ at Stevenson who recently relocated to Elgin, is part of the considerable logjam at 2-over.

“I had to get back into the play mode,” Miller said. “I hadn’t played a tournament all summer. The back nine came together. I kept my head into the game.”

Miller revived her fortunes with a 34 on the back to negate a 40 on the front nine.

Hampshire alum Connie Ellett is in contention to make the 36-hole cut — the low 30 players, plus ties — after opening with a 78.

“That was a good score for me,” said Ellett, who plays at Northern Illinois with her older sister Connie. “The course was really firm. I missed a few putts that I would have liked to have made.”

St. Charles’ Paige Jordan, who plays collegiately at Bradley, fired an 82. Sam Coyne, another member of Northern Illinois’ squad, needs to rebound after the Bartlett native opened with an 87.



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