Brilliant Mardan Takes Control

Thu 29 Nov 2012

Brilliant Mardan Takes Control

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Khon Kaen, Thailand, November 29: Singapore’s Mardan Mamat found himself back on familiar ground when he fired a brilliant nine-under-par 63 to take the opening round lead at the King’s Cup on Thursday.
Not since his wire-to-wire victory in the Philippines earlier this year has Singapore’s number one golfer secured pole position. But he did so brilliantly this week by marking his card with 10 birdies against one bogey at the Singha Park Khon Kaen Golf Club.
Morning round leader Supakorn Utaipat of Thailand took full advantage of his second ever start on the Asian Tour by posting a 64 to take a share of second place with England’s Chris Rodgers while Australia’s Rick Kulacz signed for a 65 to take equal fourth place alongside Spain’s Javi Colomo and Thailand’s Arnond Vongvanij, Prom Meesawat and Udorn Duangdecha who is the defending champion.
Mardan got his campaign off to a commanding start when he fired four birdies on holes three, five, six and seven to turn in 32.  He moved to five-under after another birdie on the par-four 12th.
The Singaporean’s only blemish came on the following hole where he bogeyed the par-three 13th.
However, that setback was only momentary as the 45-year-old veteran stormed home with five birdies on the trot starting from the 14th.
“It has been some time since I shot nine-under and obviously it’s a very good score that I can be very proud of,” said Mardan.
“I holed many putts and that was basically the key to such a good round today. What made me happier is that I haven’t been putting well for some time and today’s putting was really the best I’ve putted all year,” added the three-time Asian Tour winner.
Having only turned professional this year, Supakorn was delighted with his encouraging start to his title ambitions at the King’s Cup, which is the third last event on the 2012 Asian Tour Schedule.
The burly 22-year-old teed up for his first Asian Tour event at the Queen’s Cup in June but failed to make it into the weekend rounds when he missed the cut by six shots.
Five months later, Supakorn is ready for another shot at glory aided by a new set of clubs in his bag.
“I changed my entire bag starting with the driver, putter and irons. This is a new set of golf clubs that I’ve and I’m happy with where it has got me today,” said Supakorn.
“I’ve played on this golf course on several occasions previously and this is my best result so far. Hopefully, I can carry this good form for the next three rounds,” added the Thai.
Rodgers meanwhile showed great resolve in regaining his Tour card which he lost last year.
It was also the first time he had lost his full playing rights on the Asian Tour since his maiden victory in Pakistan in 2008.
“After my win, I got a bit comfortable playing on the Asian Tour and enjoying myself. Last year was a bit of a struggle as I didn’t putt very well and ended up missing my card. You certainly realise you’re missing out a lot and coming back this year with very limited status, it gives you lots of time to practice and reflect,” said Rodgers.
“There’s everything to play for this week and I know I need a big finish. You can’t win a tournament with just one round but each time you start with an eight-under-64, it is a great start and I hope I can carry this on,” added Rodgers.
The King’s Cup is making its return after a year’s absence following the floods in Thailand last year and is already enjoying a welcome revival with its prize fund increasing to US$500,000 this year.
Leading scores after round 1 of the King's Cup being played at the par 72, 7418 Yards Singha Park course (a- denotes amateur):
63 - Mardan MAMAT (SIN).
64 - Supakorn UTAIPAT (THA), Chris RODGERS (ENG).
65 - Rick KULACZ (AUS), Udorn DUANGDECHA (THA), Arnond VONGVANIJ (THA), Prom MEESAWAT (THA), Javi COLOMO (ESP).
66 - Felipe AGUILAR (CHI), LIN Wen-tang (TPE), Pariya JUNHASAVASDIKUL (THA), Wittawat SAE-UNG (THA).
67 - Gunn CHAROENKUL (THA), Thongchai JAIDEE (THA), LEE Sung (KOR), Boonchu RUANGKIT (THA), Kiradech APHIBARNRAT (THA).
68 - Jesper KENNEGARD (SWE), Atthaphon PRATHUMMANEE (THA), Elmer SALVADOR (PHI), Tawan PHONGPHUN (am, THA), Thitiphun CHUAYPRAKONG (THA), Tim STEWART (AUS), Lindsay RENOLDS (CAN).
69 - Vuttipong PUANGKAEW (THA), Taiki HARA (THA), Nadeem INYAT (PAK), Gerry NORQUIST (USA), Panuphol PITTAYARAT (THA), Atiwit JANEWATTANANOND (THA), Apisit NIMUNUAL (THA), Thaworn WIRATCHANT (THA), Miguel TABUENA (PHI), Andrew DODT (AUS), Antonio LASCUNA (PHI), MO Joong-kyung (KOR), Panuwat MUENLEK (THA), Sutijet KOORATANAPISAN (THA), Simon GRIFFITHS (ENG), Michael TRAN (VNM), Kwanchai TANNIN (THA), Sukree OTHMAN (MAS), Pol KEMMARAT (THA), Kalle SAMOOJA (FIN), Varut CHOMCHALAM (THA), Pablo HERRERIA (ESP), LAM Chih Bing (SIN), Quincy QUEK (SIN).
Selected score
70 - Prayad MARKSAENG (THA)
Ends.
About the Asian Tour
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 Rolex (Official Timekeeper), Starwood Hotels and Resorts (Official Hotels and Resorts), Abacus (Official Apparel Partner), Cityneon (Official Event Overlay Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Supplier), Singha Beer (Official Beer), BlackBerry (Official Communications Partner) and Srixon (Official Ball). The Asian Tour has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.