Prayad Marksaeng (Tha) – First Round 65 (-6)
Today I was lucky as my driver and irons were really good. On 12, I sank an eagle from 131 yards. Hit a good wedge that took one bounce before finding the hole. There was no wind this afternoon, but it didn’t really make it easy as it’s a tough course. Putted well on the first nine and then I missed some putts on the back nine. Three putted the 10th for my only bogey. It could have been a lower score.
The course here is very similar to the courses in Japan, which is very tight. That’s why I’m comfortable playing on this course after all these years. I know where to hit it to, where my target should be. If I keep to my plan, it becomes easy for me. When I’m on the greens, I know where the breaks are.
Angelo Que (Phi) – First Round 65 (-6)
It was pleasing especially arriving only last night and shooting a 65. I hit it pretty good. I was in good form two weeks before coming here. Pretty confident with my game and I was just trying to enjoy myself out there. I had good company with Richard T. Lee and Chapchai Nirat and that helps a lot.
It’s a tough course, if you think about it too much, golf is hard enough. If you think too much, you just get crazy. What we do is tough enough. You just take what you have and go with it. I started well and then made six birdies in my last seven holes. Just hitting good shots and making good yardages. I holed some putts …. golf is about making putts. I struggled with the putter for a few months and I think I sorted it out by changing putters. If it’s not me, maybe it’s the putter! Blame something else.
In Japan, I’ve been working on my game a lot, trying to figure out what I need to do to make it better. When I get a week off, I don’t play at all and I get a good rest. The yardage books are good enough that sometimes you don’t need a practice round. if you’re getting your numbers right and you’re hitting it good, you can play without a practice round. Some players don’t like taking that risk of not playing a practice round.
Chanat Sakulpolphaisan (Tha) – First Round 65 (-6)
I’m surprised myself. I’m kind of happy about this. I just tried to play my game and stay in the moment. I didn’t think about it too much. Hit the middle of the greens and holed some putts. Happy that most of them dropped in the middle of the hole. Today, my putting was good. You have to keep the ball in play to not lose some strokes here.
This is the first time I’m leading an Asian Tour tournament. I hope to keep the lead. I finished right on the number at Qualifying School in January. Before I went to college in the US, I played for the Thai national team although I didn’t quite get into the Southeast Asian Games. I represented Thailand in the World Amateur Championship in Australia. I then attended Mississippi State University from 2010 to 2014. I turned professional immediately and then played on the Asian Development Tour for two years which helped improve my game a lot. Hopefully it will continue to help me in the future.
I made a good birdie on number four, holed a long putt from about 30 feet which was nice as the green slopes a lot there. I played here in 2015 and missed the halfway cut. I didn’t play good then and I couldn’t get into the tournament last year.
At the Qualifying School, I think I was like 11-under after the third round which put me around the number to get my card. I was like three under after 12 on the last day and parred all the way in. It was very nervous. I had a long par putt on the last hole on the ninth which helped me get my card. I holed a putt from about 15 feet. I didn’t know what the situation was and I just tried my best and it went in and it proved to be important.
I’ve played three tournaments so far and just made one cut in Bangladesh. I learned golf at around nine, just followed my brother who was a golfer. I just loved golf and tried to become better and wanted an education as well which was the reason why I went to the US. It definitely helped me a lot, gave me a lot of opportunities to compete with the top college golfers. I won five times on the NJCAA and won once on the NCAA. Back then, the guys who were in college were the likes of Justin Thomas, Daniel Berger and Smylie Kaufman.
Nicholas Fung (Mas) – First Round 66 (-5)
I’ve been playing bad recently as I’ve been changing my swing. I’ve also been sick for the past 10 days with a really bad sore throat. I didn’t want to think too much about this week and just decided to go out there to play. You need to hit it straight on this course which is an advantage for me as I keep it quite straight.
Started well but couldn’t make the putts. Hit it really close with a four iron to about three feet for my eagle on 18. From there, I got some momentum and my confidence just started to come back.
I wanted to gain more distance with my drives. I’m a pretty average with distance although I’m straight all the time. I need more distance if I want to think about playing in Europe. It’s not a drastic change, just making adjustments with the swing path a bit.
I’m working a lot with Steven Giuliano which has been good. I’m staying more often in KL these days to see him regularly and he’s also been motivating me. At the range I’ve started to gain about eight yards with the drives. The goal is to get 15 yards added to my driving distance.
This course is not long. You have to hit it straight all the time and make some putts. With the swing changes, I can see that my feel is starting to come back and hopefully a win on Tour will also come soon.
Daisuke Kataoka (Jpn) – First Round 66 (-5)
I made six birdies and bogeyed 14. On the front nine, I hit it really good. Missed a lot of birdie chances early on before holing a long birdie on five. After that, I started to putt really nicely and made a few more birdies. I’ve been playing well in Japan, so my game feel goods. My shots were really nice and only made a miss on 14 for my only bogey. Otherwise, I was always in play.
I always enjoy coming here. The course is very tight which I really like. I like the course and outside the course, we enjoy good seafood and the hotel is also nice. I always feel happy when I’m over here. I finished third here in 2013 which is why I feel confident coming back.
SSP Chawrasia (Ind) – First Round 67 (-4)
I’m very happy as I didn’t play a practice round. I’ve played a few times here already but it’s not an easy course. Back nine, I shot four under where I made a few putts. It’s mentally tough out there. In my mind, I’m thinking that I’ve not played a practice round and the main thing about here is the greens where I don’t really know the greens. It was a bit tough mentally.
I just made a few putts on the back nine. Made birdie on 10 and then, 13, 15 and 16. Made those 10 to 15 footers for the four under. Today, there was not much wind and that’s why you’re seeing the good scores. It’s normally windy out here and it’s tough to score when it blows. Without wind, players can go low. I like it when it’s windy when it’s tougher. If it is windy, it makes it tougher which I’m kind of used to the winds.