Asian Tour veteran Mardan Mamat of Singapore fired 10 birdies in a brilliant nine-under-par 63 yesterday to earn a one-stroke lead in the first round of the King’s Cup.
Mardan, who stormed home with five birdies on the closing five holes, leads Supakorn Utaipat of Thailand and England’s Chris Rodgers by one stroke at the Singha Park Khon Kaen Golf Club in northeastern Thailand.
The 45-year-old’s only blemish came with a par-three bogey on the 13th before he hit the birdie trail again.
“It has been some time since I shot nine-under and obviously it’s a very good score that I can be very proud of,” said Mardan, who has won three times on the Asian Tour. “I holed many putts and that was basically the key to such a good round today.”
Supakorn, 22, who only turned professional this year, was delighted with his encouraging start to the tournament.
“This is a long course which favors long drivers,” Supakorn said. “I just go for my driving and they are all on the fairways. I also putted very well.”
Rodgers started on the back nine and reeled off six birdies, including on the 16th, 17th and 18th.
“It’s been a long while since I’ve had a good first round,” Rodgers said.
The US$500,000 King’s Cup is making its return after floods in Thailand last year prevented the tournament from being held.
Australia’s Rick Kulacz signed for a 65 to take equal fourth place alongside Spain’s Javi Colomo and Thai trio Arnond Vongvanij, Prom Meesawat and Udorn Duangdecha, who won in 2010.
Taiwan’s Lin Wen-tang was in a group of four players a shot further back.
Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant, currently second in the Asian Tour Order of Merit, is six shots off the pace.
Additional reporting by Staff writer