Japan’s Daisuke Kataoka fired a flawless six-under-par 65 to grab a share of the first-round lead with Finland’s Jaakko Makitalo and Malaysia’s Danny Chia at Thailand’s Queen’s Cup on Thursday.
Bangladesh’s Siddikur stayed close to the leaders by posting a 66 to trail by one in fourth place, while Pariya Junhasavasdikul emerged as the leading Thai after shooting 67 to take fifth place at the Santiburi Samui Country Club.
Kataoka, who served notice of his talent in Indonesia last month by battling his way into contention against a host of elite players that included Major winner Ernie Els, is confident of notching another impressive result this week.
“I putted really well today. I’m glad that I was able to pick up my form from the last event,” said Kataoka, who equaled his best performance on the Asian Tour with his third place finish then.
“I’m happy to be among the leaders and I look forward to the next three days where, hopefully, I can remain in contention,” he was quoted as saying in an Asian Tour press release.
After missing the cut in two of his last three events on the Asian Tour, Makitalo breathed new life into his title challenge this week.
“I don’t really think about why I missed the cut, where I missed or how I missed. There are a million reasons why you can miss a cut, but I’ve been practising a lot back home and it has paid off today,” Makitalo said.
“I came into this week feeling that my game was better than last year. This course can be tough if you don’t find the fairways,” he said.
Chia, who holds the distinction of being the first Malaysian winner on the Asian Tour when he won the Taiwan Open in 2002, traded seven birdies against a lone bogey on the par-four 12th to enjoy an encouraging start.
“I’m pleased with how I’ve played, especially my putting. My iron play was also consistent and apart from the last hole where I hit the ball into the water, I’m happy with how the day went,” Chia said.
Of the Taiwanese players, Hung Chien-yao was in joint 20th place with a score of three-under 69, while Hsu Mong-nan shot a two-under 70. Lu Wen-teh shot a one-over-par 73, while Chan Yih-shin scored a two-over 74.
Additional reporting by staff writer