Kim Heeji Sets the Pace at Blue Canyon Country Club Phuket


South Korean golfer Kim Heeji capitalized on her formidable form to seize an early lead at the US$650,000 Blue Canyon Ladies Championship, held at the par 72, 6,511-yard Blue Canyon Country Club Phuket, on Friday. 

The 23-year-old, ranked 51st on the KLPGA Tour, carded six birdies, including three consecutive ones from the 11th to the 13th hole, to post an impressive first-round score of 66, securing a one-stroke lead over compatriots Hwang Jeongmee, Cho Ayean, Han Jinseon, and Jo Hyelim in the tournament’s inaugural edition in the Kingdom.

“I didn’t perform well in the season-opening KLPGA event in Singapore because I placed a lot of pressure on myself,” said Heeji, who turned professional in 2022.

 “So, this week I tried to relax a bit, and that’s why I had a good score today. I didn’t achieve good results last year as I was too hard on myself,” added Heeji, whose best result on the KLPGA Tour was a 3rd place at the S-Oil Championship in 2022.

 She mentioned that playing under highly humid conditions on this island was no problem as she had trained in the Philippines, where the weather is similar, for seven years. “I will try not to push myself under pressure and focus on each shot,” Heeji said about her plan for Saturday.

Jeongmee, also with an unblemished scorecard, shot five birdies, including three on the back nine, for a first-round 67. The 30th ranked player on the KLPGA Tour has one title under her belt, which she secured back in 2022. 

Ayean, who clinched two KLPGA victories two years ago, had a roller-coaster round where she fired eight birdies against a double on the 14th hole and a bogey on the fifth to sit a stroke off the lead.

KLPGA No. 23 Jinseong, the two-time winner of the High 1 Resort Ladies Open in 2022 and 2023, started the day with a bogey but recovered to fire six birdies, also ending with a 67. The 65th ranked Hyelim, who won 2 Dream Tour titles in 2022, hit a 67 without any dropped shots.

Phannarai Meesom-us emerged as the best local player on the day after she sank seven birdies against a double bogey on No. 11 and a bogey on No. 16 for a 68.

 “I played smoothly on the front nine but started making errors on the back. I hit the ball to the left a bit and ended up with a double. But I managed to fight my way back to hit birdies, especially on the final hole, which I think was pure luck,’’ said the 20-year-old, looking for her maiden win after finishing as runner-up twice on the Thailand Mixed Tour in 2021 and the Thai LPGA Tour in 2023. 

“Playing alongside KLPGA players is a great experience for me. They are so concentrated, and even when they make mistakes, they can recover quickly to hit steadily,” the young Thai praised KLPGA players.

Apart from the Thai young gun, three Korean players also opened their campaign with a 68. These included KLPGA No. 1 Lee Yewon, Bang Shinsil, and Choi Minkyung. Other Thai hopes Pornanong Phatlum and three-time Thai LPGA No. 1 Patcharajutar Kongkraphan, each with a 70, sat four strokes off the lead.

In addition to the competitive action, the tournament featured enticing rewards, including a substantial winner’s purse of US$117,000 and special prizes for exceptional feats on the course, such as a hole-in-one on the par 3 14th hole.

Golf enthusiasts can witness the excitement unfold live on True Visions’ True Sport 5 channel from March 15th to 17th, from 13:00 to 16:00.

Sponsored by prominent brands including Siang Pure, Peppermint Field, Chang Natural Mineral Water, ANew Golf, SParms, and Hatari, the Blue Canyon Ladies Championship promises captivating golfing action for enthusiasts.

Golf enthusiasts can witness the excitement unfold live on True Visions’ True Sport 5 channel from March 15th to 17th, from 13:00 to 16:00.

Online tickets for the event are available for purchase at [](

Stay updated with the latest developments by visiting the tournament’s Facebook page: [](

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Goongnang Suksawat
Goong Nang is a News Translator who has worked professionally for multiple news organizations in Thailand for many years and has worked with The Pattaya News for more than four years. Specializes primarily in local news for Phuket, Pattaya, and also some national news, with emphasis on translation between Thai to English and working as an intermediary between reporters and English-speaking writers. Originally from Nakhon Si Thammarat, but lives in Phuket and Krabi except when commuting between the three.