Prom Propels Ahead

Thu 28 Mar 2013

Prom Propels Ahead

Chiangmai, March 28: Thailand’s Prom Meesawat charged into the early first round lead with a six-under-par 66 in the inaugural Chiangmai Golf Classic presented by PTT on Thursday, putting the shade on Ernie Els of South Africa who returned a 69 with a short putter in hand.

Prom, seeking a first Asian Tour victory since his maiden title in 2006, got off to a roaring start where he was six-under through 10 holes at the immaculate Alpine Golf Resort-Chiangmai before the birdies dried up.

Little-known Thai Pawin Ingkhapradit shot a 67 to lie one back with four others – Carols Pigem of Spain, Bryce Eaton of South Africa, Australia’s Matthew Stieger and Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond – carding 68s in the US$750,000 full-field Asian Tour event.
Ernie Els Ernie Els

Four-time Major champion Els, using a short putter in a long while in preparation for an impending ban against anchored style putting, was bogey free in his round which included three birdies. His 69 was matched by amongst others, playing partner Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand, Chinese Taipei’s brothers Lin Wen-tang and Lin Wen-hong and India’s Shiv Kapur.

“It is a great start. I still left a bunch of birdies on my back nine (he started from the 10th tee). But it was still a good round. My irons were pretty good,” said a delighted Prom.

“I missed a short putt on the fourth hole. That was an easy putt. The first nine holes are very tricky. Kiradech (Aphibarnrat) and I were working with our caddies during the practice round and we kind of realised the front nine greens are very tricky.”

Prom is hoping to emulate close friend Kiradech who won the Maybank Malaysian Open on Sunday. “He is a good player and partner. He is a good young boy and I love seeing him winning a tournament especially when it was co-sanction with the European Tour. I can say that he will be the best Thai player in the future,” said Prom.

“I always get off to a fast start in the first round but can’t maintain the momentum. I have another good start now so I want to try and keep it up and have another good three days.”

South Africa’s Ernie Els was happy with his back-in-play short putter after touring the Alpine course without a bogey. The four-time Major winner needed 29 putts and was pleased with the short stick.

“I thought it was good,” said Els of his short putter. “I missed quite a few but I felt comfortable with it. I made some good ones on my front nine. I missed some greens so I had to up and down a few times and there were some good putts which I had to make. I’m working hard at it when I’m away for tournaments. It felt good today.”

Els believes he is capable to firing a low round at the Alpine course to give himself a chance of winning a first title in 2013.
“The course is wonderful. It’s in unbelievable great shape. I was trying to really squeeze a lot out there today but didn’t quite happen. Made three birdies and no bogeys. It was quite a comfortable round. But I feel there’s a good round out there and I’ll keep searching,” said Els, who is nicknamed “The Big Easy”.