Chapchai Roars Ahead

Thu 21 Feb 2013

Chapchai Roars Ahead

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Yangon, Myanmar, February 21: Chapchai Nirat went on a birdie spree for an eight-under-par 64 to take the clubhouse lead in the first round of the US$300,000 Zaykabar Myanmar Open presented by Alpine on Thursday.
The tenacious Thai was even par after five holes but recovered with eight birdies in his last 13 holes to take a one-shot lead over countryman Prom Meesawat and Joonas Granberg of Finland at the Royal Mingalardon Golf and Country Club.
Highly rated Thanyakon Khrongpha of Thailand shared fourth place with Koreans Hwang In-choon and Young Nam on matching 66s at the event which is the curtain raiser for the 10th Asian Tour season.
Reigning Asian Tour number one Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand, who had the honour to hit the first drive to commemorate the occasion, settled for 71.
Chapchai, a three-time Asian Tour winner, holds the world 72-hole scoring record with a stunning 32-under-par 256 winning total in India in 2009 but has yet to win since then.
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His tied sixth result in last year’s Zaykabar Myanmar Open led to a successful season where he finished ninth on the Order of Merit and he hopes for an improved performance that will lead him to a victory this week.
“My putting was very good. Last year I struggled with my putter. Usually when you start the first tournament, you feel a bit uneasy but it was different today. Putting is very important for me. If I can putt well, I will feel confident,” said Chapchai, who welcomed his new born son ‘Jedi’ to his family last year.
“The fairways and greens are quite big but the greens are undulating so your iron shots need to be accurate. Yeah, I played well during the end of last season and I’m glad to carry on from where I left off,” added the 29-year-old.
Granberg, who is among three Finnish players this week, shot his best round since winning his first Asian Tour title in 2011 and will take pride in his return to form after a dismal 2012 season.
“This is a very low score already and I just wanted to play and relax. There was nothing special in my round. I hit it very good off the tees and found about 13 fairways. It was solid golf.
“I struggled last year. I had some personal problems and was dealing with that. I’m feeling better this year,” said Granberg, who traded five birdies against one eagle.
Prom fine-tuned his game in the Middle East earlier in the season and was rewarded with a flawless round and an opportunity to end a title drought which dates back to 2006.
“I played in the Middle East earlier in the year and I went there to learn from some of the best players from the European Tour. I played quite well and I feel that I’m carrying that confidence into this event,” said Prom.
“It is a very good start for the tournament and my first Asian Tour event for 2013. My iron shots were good but you have to hit good tee shots. You have to put your tee shots in play and hit good irons. The greens here are tricky so if you hit it close, you will get a better line and score.”
Ends.
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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), BlackBerry (Official Communications Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Supplier), Singha Beer (Official Beer), Srixon (Official Ball), 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