Khon Kaen, Thailand, March 24: Chapchai Nirat’s low scoring capability was on display again today after he shot an eight-under-par 64 in the first round of the Singha Esan Open.
Eight birdies and no dropped shots at Singha Park Golf Club saw the 32-year-old Thai take a one stroke lead over compatriot Thanyakon Khrongpha.
Thanyakon also happened to be Chapchai’s playing partner in the US$100,000 tournament that marks the start of the ASEAN PGA Tour’s 10th season.
Chapchai, a four-time winner on the Asian Tour, began his round on the 10th and toured the second nine in two-under with birdies on 11 and 18.
Then, in a brilliant spell he birdied two, three, four, and six, seven, eight.
The burly golfer hit world headlines in 2009 when he set the world 72-hole scoring record with a stunning 32-under-par 256 winning total at the SAIL Open in India.
His most recent win came in the 2014 Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters in Malaysia.
Thailand’s Thummanoon Koonmark, Atthaphon Sriboonkaew and Poom Saksansin are tied for third after shooting 67s.
Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant, the defending champion, carded a 68.
Reigning ASEAN PGA Order of Merit winner Prayad Marksaeng from Thailand came in with 72.
Korean Daejin Jeong returned a 69 to lead the way for the graduates from the recent OneAsia Qualifying School.
This year’s event is of special significance as it welcomes the graduates as part of a new association with OneAsia and the four ASEAN PGA events in Thailand.
The Singha Esan Open is one of four tournaments jointly sanctioned by the ASEAN PGA Tour with the All Thailand Golf Tour. The others are the Singha Hua Hin Open, Singha Pattaya Open and Singha Phuket Open.