Arnond Stands Tall

Thu 19 Apr 2012

Arnond Stands Tall

Jakarta, April 19: Highly rated Arnond Vongvanij of Thailand stood tall in the opening round of the CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters presented by PNTS after taking the early lead with a five-under-par 67 on Thursday.

The Asian Tour rookie, who is one of the shortest players on Tour with a height of 1.65m, was bogey-free and leads by one over veterans Boonchu Ruangkit of Thailand, Zaw Moe of Myanmar and Lee Sung of Korea, who was born with an hearing impairment, at the US$750,000 Asian Tour event.

Korea’s Park Hyun-bin and Thitiphun Chuayprakong of Thailand, who both finished tied third last year, was a further shot back with Berry Henson of the United States and Masanori Kobayashi of Japan at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club.

Arnond has enjoyed a solid first year on the Asian Tour where he has two top-10 finishes and continued to impress with his flawless round.

“I’m happy but not surprised. I feel that my game in the last couple of weeks have been really close to where I want it. My putting has been good but it hasn’t been dropping. Somehow, everything came together,” said Arnond, a former student of the David Leadbetter Golf Academy.

Arnond, nicknamed “Bank”, because he was born a day after his mum went for her final exams in financial banking, credited his straight shooting game for his score.

“I hit my driver fairly straight. I didn’t get into too much trouble. The wind definitely picked up starting on my last 10 holes. There are not much trees out here but the wind is blowing harder than expected,” added the 23-year-old.


Lee, who had an implant surgically put into his right ear in 2010 to help him hear, missed only one fairway in a round of five birdies against one bogey.

“My driver was excellent. I missed only one fairway. If you get your tee shots going here, you can have a chance of attacking the greens. All my birdies were quite close today,” said Lee, who has won once on the Asian Tour in 2007.

“I’ve struggled with concentration this year. To be honest, I wasn’t a 100% focussed but I managed to hang in there which is good. It is a good start for me so hopefully I can keep the momentum going,” he added.

Thai veteran Boonchu, who is 32 years older than Arnond, rolled back the years with a 68 and hopes to give the younger players a run for their money.

“This is a very long golf course so my 68 wasn’t as easy as it seems on paper. With age, I hit it much shorter compared to last time. I just wanted to keep my shots on the fairways and give myself chances to score,” said the five-time Asian Tour winner.

“This is a good tournament so I wanted to play this week. I come into the week without any expectations but I want to show the younger players that even a guy like me at the age of 55 can be contending on a long course. I hope to inspire the younger Thai players to play even better than me.”