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AMATEUR Thailand teen plays OK, but wants to score better



Published: Sat, July 20, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Naree Song Wongluekiet shot 3-over in Friday's opening round.

By JAYME RAMSON

VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF

VIENNA -- Naree Song Wongluekiet, the lone amateur in this year's Giant Eagle LPGA Classic, has not let her status deter her ability to play with the best.

Friday, Wongluekiet finished at 3-over par with a 75.

She played the back nine at 3-over par and finished at par on the front nine.

"It was a good experience playing today but I didn't play as well as I would have liked to," Wongluekiet said. "I felt pretty comfortable out there, but I didn't get anything going."

Wongluekiet said she plans to work on her putting this morning.

"The course played a bit longer in the afternoon today," Wongluekiet said. "Hopefully tomorrow I'll get a better tee time and play a little better."

Impressive history

Wongluekiet, 16, resides in Brandenton, Fla., and is originally from Thailand. She is playing through a sponsor exemption and has an impressive tournament history.

Wongluekiet has competed in nine LPGA Tour events, with her best performance coming at this year's Wegmans Rochester International where she tied for 29th place.

She shot 69 in the first round, 74 in the second round, 73 in the third round and 77 in the final round.

She won five tournaments at the national level in 1999 and 2000. Currently, she is ranked fourth in the Golfweek/Titleist amateur rankings.

In July 2000, she finished 40th at the U.S. Women's Open and had the lowest score of all amateurs.

Wongluekiet won the Ladies South Atlantic Amateur in January. She was the youngest winner in the tournament's history.

She is a two-time first team AJGA Polo Golf Junior All-American. In November of 2001 she finished tied for sixth at the Futures Tour Qualifying School.

Naree's twin sister, Aree, attempted to qualify for the Giant Eagle LPGA Classic during the Monday qualifying round, but missed earning a spot in the field. Instead, Aree is caddying for her twin.

jramson@vindy.com




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