Chapchai shoots stunning 62, takes three-shot lead in SAIL Open

March 18th, 2009 - 9:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Gurgaon, March 18 (IANS) Big-hitting Chapchai Nirat of Thailand made the best of ideal golfing conditions to bring home a course record in the first round of the SAIL Open as the Asian Tour returned to the Classic Golf Resort after eight years. The 25-year-old chubby golfer shot five birdies on either side of the turn to score a flawless 10-under 62 that saw him open up a three-shot lead over four players crowding the second place.
The foursome in shared second included Filipino Antonio Lascuna, Thai Wisut Artjanawat, Asian Tour rookie Mark Purser of New Zealand and Singaporean veteran Mardan Mamat.

With the golf course ideal for scoring, the players went on a birdie spree as 22 players came five-under or better and a total of 95 shot under par for the round.

Behind Chapchai and the four sharing the second spot, there were three players, two of them Indians Shamim Khan and S.S.P. Chowrasia, and Richard Moir of Australia at six-under 66 at tied sixth.

Fourteen players, including five Indians Rahil Gangjee, Rafiq Ali, Gaganjeet Bhullar, Ashok Kumar and Naman Dawar, shot five-under 67 to share the ninth place.

There were 19 players in tied 23rd place at four-under 68 and the bunch included Shiv Kapur, Amandeep Johl, Arjun Singh, Vijay Kumar, Vinod Kumar, Sujjan Singh and C. Muniyappa.

Tournament favourite Jyoti Randhawa made a sedate start with a one-under 71 and was lying way behind in 76th place, while Thaworn Wiratchant was one shot better at three-under 69 in tied 44th.

Chapchai, winner of two Asian Tour titles back in 2007, the year he landed more than 300 birdies to become the Birdie King, was in full flow this morning with 10 birdies after starting at the tenth.

He started with a birdie on tenth and added a second on 11th. A birdie on 14th, followed by two more on 17th and 18th saw him turn in five-under.

Three more in the next four holes meant he was seven-under after 12 holes. A birdie-birdie finish on eighth and ninth saw him round off the day at 10-under and set a new course record for Chapchai, who was second at the Volvo Masters last December.

“I’m very pleased with my effort since this is my second-best single round score on the Asian Tour. The key for me in the second round would be to hit the green in two on the par 5s,” said Chapchai.

Wisut, another young and promising Thai, was also in great form with seven birdies against no bogeys. Having finished in the top-10 three times last year, he is still looking for his first win, he had five birdies on the front nine and two on the back journey. Wisut, 27, nevertheless has won a title on the Asean Tour.

Keeping the Indian flag flying were Chowrasia, fourth at the Thailand Open two weeks ago, and Shamim Khan, both of who, carded a six-under 66.

Chowrasia looking to regain the form that won him the joint-sanctioned Indian Masters last year, said, “The course is playing really well and we could be in for a very low score this week. I feel comfortable on this course as I have won here in the past after having shot a nine under.

Leading scores

62 - Chapchai Nirat (THA)

65 - Antonio Lascuna (PHI)

Wisut Artjanawat (THA)

Mardan Mamat (SIN)

Mark Purser (NZL)

66 - Shamim Khan (IND)

Richard Moir (AUS)

S.S.P. Chowrasia (IND)

67 - Rafiq Ali (IND)

Rahil Gangjee (IND)

Rory Hie (INA)

Gaganjeet Bhullar (IND)

Thammanoon Srirot (THA)

Artemio Murakami (PHI)

Mars Pucay (PHI)

Jbe Kruger (RSA)

Naman Dawar (IND)

Christopher Campbell (AUS)

Ashok Kumar (IND)

Ross Bain (SCO)

Wilhelm Schauman (SWE)

Kao Bo-Song (TPE)

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