Thai teenager Chinnarat Phadungsil birdied his last three holes to join Malaysia's Iain Steel as co-leader after round one of the Pine Valley Beijing Open yesterday.
Chinnarat, 19, recorded a seven-under 65 at the par-72 Pine Valley layout to match Steel in the US$1 million event sanctioned by the Asian, Chinese and Japanese tours.
Australia’s Tony Carolan was a stroke back in lone third, while South Korean youngster Bae Sang-moon, who won last year’s SK Telecom Open, was joint fourth alongside Taiwan’s Lin Keng-chi and Japanese trio Hiroyuki Fujita, Takao Nagomi and Masao Nakajima.
Defending champion Gaurav Ghei of India has work to do after shooting 73 for tied 84th alongside Chinese trailblazer Zhang Lian-wei.
Chinnarat was thanking his lucky stars after nailing a series of 20-foot birdie putts on the windswept course.
Steel fired eight birdies against a lone bogey in a pleasing return to the course near Beijing.
“This is my second time playing here at the Pine Valley Golf Club. My game wasn’t sharp last year, so I’m glad to be hitting it spot this week,” Steel said.