Lam in a battle for survival at King's Cup

Thu 16 Jan 2014

Lam in a battle for survival at King's Cup

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Hua Hin, Thailand, January 16: A resilient Lam Chih Bing of Singapore battled to a two-under-par 70 in the opening round of the King’s Cup Golf Hua Hin on Thursday to give himself a fighting chance of saving his Asian Tour card for the new season.
Currently ranked 66th on the Order of Merit, Lam is faced with a huge task of breaking into the top-60 on the final Merit list which will give him full playing rights on the region’s premier Tour in 2014.
Slightly more than US$10,000 separates Lam from 60th position Adam Groom of Australia, who shot a 69 on day one, and the Singaporean knows he needs a good result to pus him into the safety zone this week.
Lam, who trails first round leaders Prom Meesawat of Thailand and Rikard Karlberg of Sweden by five shots, admits that the prospect of losing his Tour card for the second successive season had taken out some joy from his Christmas and New Year celebrations.
“I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary during the break. To be honest, I couldn’t enjoy my Christmas and New Year as much I would have like to,” said Lam.
Thitiphun Chuayprakong  of Thailand Thitiphun Chuayprakong of Thailand
But a first round 70 courtesy of four birdies against two bogeys at the US$1 million Asian Tour season-ending event has given Lam a reason to smile again.
“I played pretty solidly. I got off to a good start and it was blowing a little bit. It was funny because when the wind died down, I couldn’t seem to get my round going. I’m trying not to think about the Order of Merit but it isn’t easy,” said Lam, an Asian Tour winner.
After losing his Tour card in 2012, Lam made full use of his limited playing opportunities through his country exemption category. He was in contention at the 2013 Panasonic Open India but had to settle for third position after struggling with nerves.
“I have the tendency to be a little bit quick and anxious coming down the crunch period. That’s something that I need to monitor in my game,” he said.
“I had a few chances out there (in 2013) where I could play really good but somehow I didn’t take advantage of those weeks. I’m in this position again. Not a great position to be in but at least I’m still in it with a chance.”
The bubbly Thitiphun Chuayprakong of Thailand, ranked 65th on the Order of Merit, will also face a huge challenge at the Black Mountain Golf Club.
In contrast to his nickname ‘Tote’, which means doing things at a slow pace, he was off to a fast start after trading six birdies against three bogeys highlighted by a chip-in birdie on the third hole.
Thitiphun is prepared to overcome the challenging week after receiving advice from short game experts Thaworn Wiratchant, Chawalit Plaphol and Prom Meesawat
“I’ve practised a lot and I’m ready to play well. Previously I struggled a lot with my short game. A lot of Thai players told me that my chipping is not good. But Thaworn, Chawalit, Prom and Pariya have helped me to improve in my game,” said the 21-year-old.
China’s Hu Mu, currently 64th on the Order of Merit, had to shake off a bout of nerves early in his round as he returned with a 71. He hopes to avoid the prospect of returning to the challenging Qualifying School where he narrowly missed the top-40 mark in 2013.
Hu Mu of China Hu Mu of China
“I haven’t been playing competitive golf for some time and was feeling rusty with my game. So to return with a 71 is definitely something positive. I was feeling a little tense when I first got to the tee box. But the pressure sort of eased a bit as the round went on. I’m quite pleased with an opening 71 as I not too far back from the leaders,” said Hu.
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 Abacus (Official Apparel Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Sponsor), Oakley (Official Eyewear and Footwear Sponsor), 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.