Fri, Feb 22, 2013 - Page 20 News List

ASIAN TOUR: Thai pair lead at Myanmar Open

AFP and reuters, YANGON, MYANMAR

Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand plays a shot during yesterday’s first round of the US$300,000 Zaykabar Myanmar Open at the Royal Mingalardon Golf and Country Club in Yangon.


Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat bolstered his hopes of erasing last year’s play off defeat at the Zaykabar Myanmar Open yesterday when he tied for the opening-round lead with compatriot Chapchai Nirat.

The pair, who finished on eight-under-par 64, are one shot ahead of fellow countryman Prom Meesawat, who is seeking a long-awaited second Asian Tour victory, and Joonas Granberg of Finland.

Another Thai, Thanyakon Khrongpha, shared fifth place with Australia’s Darren Beck and South Koreans Hwang In-choon and Young Nam at the US$300,000 event, the curtain-raiser for the 10th Asian Tour season.

Reigning Asian Tour No. 1 Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand, who hit the first drive to mark the occasion, was on 71 along with title holder Kieran Pratt of Australia.

Kiradech was six-under through eight holes, but his confidence took a jolt when he missed a 10-foot birdie putt on the 10th hole. He gradually recovered and took advantage of the par-fives, where he birdied 14 and 18.

“I missed a big putt on the 10th hole,” said Kiradech, in comments supplied by the organizers. “I had a 10 feet uphill straight putt, but I pulled it. After that I lost some confidence with the putter. I was lucky to get two birdies in the next par-fives.”

Chapchai was even-par after five holes, but recovered with eight birdies in his last 13 holes to share the lead.

“My putting was very good,” Chapchai said. “Last year I struggled with my putter. Usually when you start the first tournament, you feel a bit uneasy, but it was different today.”

“Putting is very important for me. If I can putt well, I feel confident,” he said.

Taiwan’s Chan Shih-chang and Hung Chien-yao were in a group of players tied for ninth on 67, with compatriot Sung Mao-chang tied for 42nd three shots further back. Fellow Taiwanese Yeh Chang-ting and Huang Tao were in a group of players in 64th place after rounds of 71.

Additional reporting by Staff writer

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