Panasonic Open: Thai Suradit in lead; seven Indians among top 15

Bangladesh’s Siddikur Rahman, along with Ajeetesh Sandhu and rising-talent Tapy Ghai fired a 67 to share the top spot until the Thai took the lead late in the day.

Suradit Yongcharoenchai produced a round of six-under 66 to become a first-time leader on the Asian Tour.   -  Special Arrangement

Three days away from turning 20, Suradit Yongcharoenchai gave himself a present with a difference. He produced a round of six-under 66 to become a first-time leader on the Asian Tour late on the opening day of the $400,000 Panasonic Open here on Thursday.

The young Thai, joint runner-up in the Take Solutions Masters in Bengaluru in August, shook away the inconsistency that made him miss ‘cut’ in three out of his last four outings, for a one-stroke lead.

With the conditions almost perfect for some low scores, Bangladesh’s Siddikur Rahman, along with Ajeetesh Sandhu and rising-talent Tapy Ghai fired a 67 to share the top spot until the Thai took the lead late in the day. A stroke behind were Veer Ahlawat and Rashid Khan.

In all, the top-15 included seven Indians.

READ: Club golfer bags two hole-in-ones

As expected, it turned out to be a pretty fruitful day for the Indians with 22 of them breaking par. These included veterans like Jeev Milkha Singh (69), defending champion Shiv Kapur and Jyoti Randhawa (70 each) followed by former champion Mukesh Kumar and Shamim Khan (71 each).

Part of the penultimate group that teed-off from the 10th tee, Yongcharoenchai, bogeyed the 11th hole. He used this blip as a wake-up call and went on to fire seven birdies. He took the lead with a birdie on the eighth hole of the course and signed off with a par.

ALSO READ: Golfers troubled by Delhi air

Ghai, playing only his second Asian Tour event, continued to build on the confidence gained from winning his maiden professional title in Ahmedabad earlier this month. He fired seven birdies, with the 20-footer on the 14th being his longest putt. Sandhu, like Ghai, also
had a bogey on either side of the turn and sank seven birdies.

Siddikur, who has 12 top-10 finishes in 15 starts at this course since 2010, laid the foundation for another strong showing following a flawless 67.

Starting from the 10th hole, Ahlawat played superbly to shoot 68. Coming in, he birdied twice to offset his only blemish, a double-bogey on the par-five 18th.

Rashid had a steady front-nine 35. On the back-nine, he found his touch and birdied thrice on the first five holes. His lone bogey came on the penultimate hole. Undeterred, Rashid picked up a stroke before signing off.
 

The scores (Indians unless stated):

66 - Suradit Yongcharoenchai (Tha), 67 - Siddikur Rahman (Ban), Ajeetesh Sandhu, Tapy Ghai; 68 - Jazz Janewattananond (Tha), Peradol Panyathanasedh (Tha), Rashid Khan and Veer Ahlawat.

Other Indians (with sub-par scores): 69 - Jeev Milkha Singh, Kapil Kumar and Karandeep Kochhar. 70 - Angad Cheema, Akshay Sharma, M. Dharma, Jyoti Randhawa, Aman Raj, Shankar Das, Shiv Kapur and Sachin Baisoya. 71 - S. Chikkarangappa, Himmat Rai, Mukesh Kumar, Khalin Joshi, Trishul Chinnappa, Abhijit Chadha and Shamim Khan.