Prom hits front with opening 67

Hua Hin, Thailand, May 5: Thailand’s Prom Meesawat kickstarted his bid to win the Singha Hua Hin Open after two runner-up finishes in three years by grabbing a share of the first round lead on Thursday.

Prom, playing in his home town, opened with a four-under-par 67 to tie top spot with unheralded countrymen Thummanoon Koonmark and Tirawat Kaewsiribandit in the second event on the ASEAN PGA Tour 2016 schedule.

Veteran Prayad Marksaeng, who topped the Order of Merit last season after two victories and was joint second here with Prom, shot 68 to join a group of seven players in equal fourth place.

Starting at the 10th hole, the 31-year-old Prom was three-under for the front nine and picked up two more shots at the first and fourth holes before dropping a stroke on the eighth at Royal Hua Hin Golf Club.

The bulky Prom, nicknamed the “Big Dolphin” because he was raised in the seaside resort of Hua Hin, lost in a playoff to young gun Pawin Inkhapradit last year and also finished runner-up in 2013 when 14-year-old schoolboy amateur Phachara Khongwatmai made history by becoming the youngest winner of a professional tournament.

Thummanoon and Tirawat, like Prom morning starters, both carded five birdies against a sole bogey for matching 67s.

Prayad, a multiple winner throughout Asia, has not lost any of his ambition despite turning 50 in January and three birdies on the front nine helped him to a 68 to lie a shot behind the leaders.

Prom’s father Suthep Meesawat, who was the first home winner of the Thailand Open in 1991, sits five shots off the lead after a 72.

The Singha Hua Hin Open is one of four tournaments jointly sanctioned by the ASEAN PGA Tour and the All Thailand Golf Tour.

The others are the Singha E-San Open, Singha Pattaya Open and Singha Phuket Open.