Boom! Rookie Poom surges into early lead

Thu 05 Jun 2014

Boom! Rookie Poom surges into early lead

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Samui, Thailand, June 5: Thai newcomer Poom Saksansin snatched a surprise clubhouse lead in the early stages of the first round of the Queen’s Cup with a superb five-under-par 66 on Thursday.
The 21-year-old ensured a memorable debut at the US$300,000 Asian Tour event by firing five birdies at the Santiburi Samui Country Club to lead by two shots from compatriots Varut Chomchalam and Donlaphatchai Niyomchon.
Englishman Steve Lewton and Martin Rominger of Switzerland were amongst those bunched on 69 at the Queen’s Cup, which is sponsored by Bangkok Airways and Sports Authority of Thailand.
The soft-spoken Poom rode on a hot putter as all his birdies came from 15 feet and beyond.  With winds swirling, the young Thai also scrambled beautifully to save pars on four occasions.
“I hit my tee shots good and it gave me the opportunity to make a good score. My putting was also very good. Conditions were difficult as the winds kept changing. I decided what I would play and just hit the shot. I committed myself to every shot,” said Poom.
After helping the Thai national team win the gold medal in the Southeast Asian Games last year, Poom joined the play-for-pay ranks as he wanted to support his own career. He has made three cuts this season, with a tied 15th finish in the Solaire Open in Manila being his best.
“I turned professional as I wanted to earn money. I didn’t want to ask my mum for money anymore as she’s supported my career,” he said.
“I always play good in the first round as I’m always trying to make the cut. But this week, I’m thinking that if I miss the cut, it won’t matter. In other tournaments, I have finished 50th or 60th which gets me nothing. I want to finish higher. My thinking is a bit different this week,” added Poom.
Donlaphatchai traded four birdies against a lone bogey to stay within touching reach of the clubhouse leader. “It was difficult as conditions were tough. But I had good rhythm with my swing,” said the 24-year-old.
After failing to regain his playing rights through Qualifying School, Donlaphatchai knows he must grab whatever playing opportunities that he gets with strong performances.
“Last year, I didn’t play well and had to go back to Qualifying School but missed the Final Stage. I’m still learning and gaining experience. I’m 24 this year and I need to step up on my game as the other golfers around my age have improved a lot,” he said.
Asian Tour Order of Merit leader Anirban Lahiri of India is playing in the afternoon session.