Bangkok, January 11: American William Cannon fired his way to the top of the leaderboard with a sparking eight-under-par 64 to lead with Australia’s Todd Sinnot after the opening round of the Asian Tour Qualifying School Final Stage presented by Sports Authority of Thailand on Wednesday.
Seventeen-year-old Indian amateur Arjun Prasad, who is a high school student, was also the toast of the day after he produced a near-flawless 66 in his hope of earning a priceless Asian Tour card. The young Indian, who counts Asian Tour honorary member Jeev Milkha Singh as his role model, has been in scintillating form prior to the Qualifying School, thanks to a come-from-behind victory in the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final in China last year.
Australia’s Jack Wilson, who topped the class after the first stage to progress into this week’s ultimate test, gave another eye-catching performance when he signed for a 70 while Korean-American Sejun Yoon, who like Wilson had earlier emerged as the leader after the first stage, struggled to find that similar form when he returned with a 71 at the Suvarnabhumi Golf and Country Club.
In-form Malaysian Ben Leong, who has won the Qualifying School twice in his career, fired a fine 65 for a share of third place with amongst other Micah Lauren Shin of the United States and China’s Zheng Ou-yang. Leong, who shot seven birdies against no bogeys, arrived in Bangkok on the back of five consecutive victories on the domestic Malaysian circuit.
Cannon enjoyed eight birdies on his card, including three on the par three holes, to begin his campaign for an Asian Tour card on a solid note while Sinnot threw in an eagle on the par five 18th hole to go with seven birdies and one bogey.
Quote of the day
“If my hairdo can generate some interest to people who don’t actually watch golf, that would be fantastic. We need to grow the game as much as we can and if simple things like my appearance can do that, it would be great!”- Jack Wilson
Interesting facts of the day:
- At 17, India’s Arjun Prasad is the youngest player to tee up at the Asian Tour Qualifying School Final Stage this week.
- Prasad looks up to Jeev Milkha Singh, a double Asian Tour number one, and is prepared to join the professional ranks should he make the grade by finishing in the top-35 and ties.
- Flamboyant Jack Wilson hopes his hairdo can defy conventions and generate more interest in the golf.
William Cannon (Usa) Eight-under-par 64
I managed to hit the ball in all the good spots and didn’t really put myself in too much trouble throughout the day. I tried to get onto the Web.com but unfortunately I didn’t make it. I felt this is the next best step to further my career and get some good tournament experience in Asia. I decided to come over here and it has been great so far. I’ve been here in Thailand for three weeks now and I like it so far.
At the end of the day, you’ve got to play good golf and there’s no easy way around it. Fortunately, I managed to do that today. It was a big decision to travel all the way across the world, leave my family and come here to play but I know this will be a great step forward and there’s great competition over here. This is the best place for me to go to make my game better and this is where I want to be.
Arjun Prasad (Ind), Six-under-par 66
It’s a good morale booster for me. I played some solid golf and didn’t make too many mistakes. I followed my game plan closely. This is my second week in Thailand and it’s getting pretty tiring already. My high school exams are next week and I’m making a big sacrifice by being here. I’ve been playing golf for the last eight years and I won the Faldo Series Asia Grand Finals in China last year. My golf career has been good so far. I planning to turn professional if I can earn my Asian Tour card this week.
Jack Wilson (Aus), Two-under-par 70
I played first stage that week between Christmas and New Year and went back home on New Year’s Eve. I flew overnight and got back in Melbourne on New Year’s Day. It was great to be able to spend that week at home.
The first stage was good as I had some low scores and I played well. Hopefully, I can do the same thing this week. This is the second time I’m playing in the Final Stage at the Asian Tour Qualifying School. The last time was three years ago.
It’ll be good to get some status here on the Asian Tour as it’s the pathway to bigger and better things. Being Australian, long hair, dreadlocks is almost a given except if you play golf. I’ve always wanted dreadlocks and it shouldn’t make any difference even if I wanted to play golf.
If my hairdo can generate some interest to people who don’t actually watch golf, that would be fantastic. We need to grow the game as much as we can and if simple things like my appearance can do that, it would be great!