Thaworn at the top again #QueensCupGolf

Thu 16 Jun 2016

Thaworn at the top again #QueensCupGolf

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Samui, Thailand, June 16: Thai veteran star Thaworn Wiratchant took his customary position atop the leaderboard at the Queen’s Cup following an opening bogey-free five-under-par 66 on Thursday.
The 49-year-old, a two-time winner of the tournament, reverted to an old iron set at Santiburi Samui Country Club to launch his quest for an unprecedented 19th Asian Tour victory.
Compatriot Gunn Charaoenkul sank an opening eagle en route to a 67 while Chinese Taipei’s Lu Wei-chih was amongst those a further shot back on 68 after dropping three shots in his closing two holes.
Korea’s Jeunghun Wang, the highest ranked player in the field this week, and title holder Prayad Marksaeng enjoyed solid starts with 69s with the afternoon session currently in progress.
Lu Wei-chih of Chinese Taipei Lu Wei-chih of Chinese Taipei
Thaworn has endured lackluster form in the opening half of the year but a combination of returning to his happy hunting ground and old clubs proved to be the perfect riposte.
“I’m always happy to come back and play well here,” beamed Thaworn, who is a former Asian Tour number one.
“I’ve been trying hard to improve my game. I’ve been working hard on my irons, and have used many different sets recently. I’ve now gone back to old irons which I played well with before and won tournaments with. I have a good feeling with this old set of clubs.”
Thaworn was amongst the rare few who stayed bogey-free, with five birdies, including four on his outward nine pushing him to the forefront again.
“Normally it’s not easy to stay bogey-free, so I’m happy with that.  You have to tee off well on this course,” said the veteran.
Gunn, 24, sank his approach shot on the first hole to enjoy his best round at Santiburi Samui, which is nicknamed the Beast of Samui due to its difficulty.
“This is probably my best round here in five years. I had a great opening hole, hit an eagle on the first and I managed to keep the momentum going with a par save on two,” said Gunn.
2016 AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open: Day 2“There was a branch in my line but I went for it. I thought if I hit a full 52 degree wedge, even if I hit it over, I would be safe as the pin was in front. My ball the branch a bit, and l saw it make the front of the green and when I walked up, I couldn’t find it. Looked into the hole and there it was!”
The 37-year-old Lu was poised to conclude the morning session at the top of the leaderboard as he stood at seven-under with two holes remaining. But poor drives proved costly as he dropped three shots to stumble home.
“I’m not happy,” said Lu, who underwent surgery to remove a non-malignant tumour in the brain in 2012. “Played good in the first 16 holes as I was hitting my second shots close and made some putts.”
Wang, winner of back-to-back tournaments in Morocco and Mauritius last month and ranked second on the Asian Tour Order of Merit, launched his title quest with a solid 69 despite a lack of sleep.
“It’s a pretty good round considering I didn’t sleep too well last night. The greens are different compared to Europe, so I was quite confused initially. But I’ve played on this course many times before so I know the course,” said the 20-year-old.
The slender Korean nearly produced the shot of the day on the par three fifth hole when a five iron tee shot hit the flagstick and the ball stayed just out of the cup. A slight tweak of his backswing also proved effective for Wang.
“I think I hit it good today. I wasn’t hitting the irons on the sweet spot, so I just changed my backswing. I’m getting the right distances but the direction was a bit off. But this is a good start.”