American golfer Nicole Castrale was on fire Thursday playing the Pattaya Old Course at Siam Country Club in Chonburi, Thailand as she birdied four of the last five holes in the first round of the Honda LPGA Thailand tournament. Castrale, who needed just 16 strokes to play those last five holes, would find herself close to the top of the leaderboard had it not been for playing the par five holes in four over par.
Having recovered from last season’s hip injury, the University of Southern California graduate appears to be focused on picking up where she left off last fall before leaving her tour schedule early to help her hip heal.
A former winner on the LPGA tour, Castrale has persevered both her recent hip injury and a shoulder injury in 2010 to position herself as a perennial contender. In addition to her victory at 2007’s GINN Tribute event, she has 23 top ten finishes and has amassed an official earnings total of $2,528,275.50.
The Glendale California native plays with fellow American Danielle Kang and Sweden’s Pernilla Lindberg in Friday’s second round.
The LPGA tour returns to the United States for the LPGA Founders Cup in Phoenix, Arizona on March 20th.