Arnond flies high on home turf

Thu 12 Dec 2013

Arnond flies high on home turf

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Chonburi, Thailand, December 12: Thailand’s Arnond Vongvanij rode on a hot putter en route to a superb seven-under-par 65 at the Thailand Golf Championship on Thursday as he erased last year’s bitter memories.
The pint-sized Thai, who will turn 25 on Sunday, outscored playing partners Sergio Garcia of Spain and close friend Rickie Fowler of the United States on his home course at the Amata Spring Country Club to trail first round leader Alex Cejka of Germany by one shot.
Countrymen Thammanoon Sriroj and current Asian Tour Order of Merit leader Kiradech Aphibarnrat ensured a strong Thai presence on the leaderboard with matching 69s for tied 10th place in the US$1 million full-field Asian Tour event which includes eight of the world’s top-50 players including world number three Henrik Stenson of Sweden (70) and England’s Justin Rose, the fourth-ranked player (65).
Arnond, who was forced to retire in the first round last year with a back injury, needed only 23 putts as he charged into contention. “Just from being out here quite a bit, I know what the green does,” said the Thai, who holds one Asian Tour victory.
“The rough here is very long and difficult. So I'm just trying to put the ball in play, just try to get the ball on the greens and I rolled the ball really nicely and a lot of putts went in.”
He started strongly with five birdies in his opening six holes, draining a 25-footer on the second and then chipping in for birdie on the fifth hole. “Last year was very disappointing. I just came off a win (King’s Cup), and I had a back injury. I just don't want to think about it anymore,” he said.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand
“I was pretty comfortable playing with Rickie. I played junior golf with him since like 2004, 2005.  We know each other well.  It's just like playing junior golf again. Honestly the last few weeks I've been rolling the putter well but I haven’t been able to piece it all together. Some weeks I will hit it well and it will not go in and it's been frustrating. I'm happy to see it finally come together.”
Kiradech, who has enjoyed a season to remember with one victory and five top-fives, conceded he was nervous playing alongside Stenson and 2012 Masters Tournament champion Bubba Watson, who carded a 70.
“Quite nervous at the start with the top players,” said Kiradech. “I’m happy with a three under start. It was a little bit harder than the morning because the wind was getting up on the back nine. But I struck the ball quite well and hit a lot of fairways. However, I missed a lot of putts.”
About the Thailand Golf Championship
The primary organizers of the event are Gulf Sports Management, the Asian Tour and IMG. They have been well supported by both government and private organizations such as Siam Commercial Bank, Gulf JP, Toyota, Tourism Authority of Thailand, PTT Public Company Ltd, PTT Global Chemical Public Company Limited, PTT Exploration and Production Public Company Limited, Airports of Thailand Public Company Limited, Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, Thaioil, IRPC, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Omega, Nooter / Eriksen, Samithivej Hospital, Starwood, CNN, SuperSports, Heineken, Ricoh, Graham Beck Wines, EST Cola, Panasonic, Srixon, Central Pattana, Bangkok Post and Amata Spring Country Club.
Thailand Golf Championship tickets are available at Thaiticketmajor at Baht 300 each for Round 1 and 2 (December 12 and 13). The price for Round 3 (December 14) is Baht 400, and for the final day on December 15 the price is Baht 500. A 4-day package ticket is only Baht 800. Children below the age of 16 and senior citizens 60-years-old and over can enjoy Thailand Golf Championship for free. Special offers for SCB Credit Card, PTT Blue Card, SPG Member Card and Samitivej Patient and Staff Card holders are available till December 11, 2013. Please call 02-262-3456 or visit www.thaiticketmajor.com for details.
About the Asian Tour
In 2013, the Asian Tour will celebrate a momentous milestone with its 10th season. As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include Abacus (Official Apparel Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Supplier), Saxo Capital Markets (Official Statistics Partner), Singha Beer (Official Beer), Srixon (Official Ball), Subway (Official Quick Service Restaurant), Starwood Hotels and Resorts (Official Hotels and Resorts) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). The Asian Tour has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Also, visit us at www.asiantour.com, www.facebook.com/asiantourgolf, www.twitter.com/asiantourgolf, www.youtube.com/theasiantour and www.weibo.com/asiantourgolf
Ends