Keh and Ravnjak lead in China CLPGA tourney

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TIELING, China, Sept. 12 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand's Munchin Keh and Australian Tahnia Ravnjak set the early pace at the CLPGA Tour Tieling Longshan Golf Challenge on Wednesday as each opened with a two-over 74 score in windy and wet conditions in Liaoning province.

With play suspended at 5:46 p.m. for the slow pace with six players left out on the course, Liu Yiyi was the top Chinese at the 500,000 yuan (72,900 US dollars) China LPGA Tour tournament. The rookie pro was alone in third place at one shot back after a 75 round.

Chinese amateur Cai Danlin, compatriot Luo Ying and South Korean Lee Ye-seul were two shots off the pace in equal fourth after carding rounds of 76 at the Tieling Longshan International Golf Club.

First-round play will resume Thursday at 7:25 a.m..

Keh, the former New Zealand amateur champion, began her early morning round in light rain. She quickly found out how tough the day would be on the mountainous Tieling Longshan layout with a bogey, double-bogey start over the first two holes.

The Auckland native then settled down to post a birdie at the par-three third, one of four she would card on the day in the windy conditions, along with another bogey and a double bogey over the next 16 holes in the hunt for her first CLPGA Tour win.

"To start off, I wasn't prepared from the practice round. It wasn't as windy so I wasn't expecting how much the wind was in play today," said Keh, a second-year pro who finished runner-up at the Le Coq Sportif Beijing Ladies Classic in May.

"Even without the wind today it's still tough. It's a good course, it's challenging definitely. All the players out there need to have a good game plan."

Rookie pro Liu lamented her erratic play off the tee for her three-over-par start as the Shaanxi native hit just five fairways over the course of her round.

"I didn't have any three-putts. The real reason for my score is that I missed a lot of greens," said the 17-year-old who won the China sectional qualifier for the US Women's Open in May.

"You couldn't hit a single bad shot or you would encounter water trouble. It's really tough out there. I had many good saves, that might be the key.

Following are the first round leading scores:

Note: six players had yet to complete their round when play was suspended for the day; China unless stated; *denotes amateur.

74 - Munchin Keh (New Zealand), Tahnia Ravnjak (Australia)

75 - Liu Yiyi

76 - Luo Ying, Lee Ye-seul (South Korea), Cai Danlin*

77 - Chen Cuixia, Wang Tianyu, Jiang Yanjiao, Song Yilin, Qin Min,

Wanchana Poruangrong (Thailand), Liu Yan

78 - Yang Jiaxin, Zhou Jiayi, Zhang Yunjie, Zhu Kailin, Lu Tian*, Ren Yue, Seo Ji-hyun (South Korea), Futaba Takimoto (Japan), Hanee Song (New Zealand), Pitsaon Chaichompoo (Thailand)


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