Local rookie Chanat leads Queen’s Cup

BANGKOK: Local rookie Chanat Sakulpolphaisan shared the lead with three others after the first day at the Queen’s Cup in Thailand on Thursday as title defender Scott Hend stumbled with a series of costly bogeys.
The 26-year-old Chanat, who only finished the qualifying school in January, slotted eight birdies during his opening round to end with a six-under-par 65 at the Santiburi Samui Country Club on the southern Thai resort island of Koh Samui.
Three others — India’s Rashid Khan, Angelo Que from the Philippines and fellow Thai Prayad Marksaeng — shot a similarly strong 65, leaving everything to play for in the $500,000 competition.
Khan and Que both boasted eight birdies during their first rounds while Prayad, who has two previous Queen’s Cup victories under his belt, complemented his five birdies with a magnificent eagle on the twelfth.
“I’m surprised myself,” Chanat, who missed the halfway cut at the same cup in 2015, said according to a report put out by tour organisers.
“I made a good birdie on number four, holed a long putt from about 30 feet which was nice as the green slopes a lot there,” he added.
Order of Merit leader Hend, who took the cup last year at Samui, had a less successful first day filled with inconsistencies.
Like the leaders he struck eight birdies on day one. But the big-hitting Australian’s scorecard was blotted by two disastrous double-bogeys on the fourth and fourteenth as well as three further bogeys. The top of the leaderboard will be crowded as the players come out for day two.
Japan’s Daisuke Kataoka, Malaysia’s Nicholas Fung and Taiwan’s Hung Chien-yao ended the first day one shot from the pack leaders.
India’s SSP Chawrasia, currently second on the tour’s merit order, American Micah Lauren Shin, local rookie Jazz Janewattananond and Spain’s Carlos Pigem closed two strokes behind. — AFP
Leading scores after first round
65 – Chanat Sakulpolphaisan (THA), Rashid Khan (IND), Angelo Que (PHI), Prayad Marksaeng (THA)
66 – Daisuke Kataoka (JPN), Nicholas Fung (MAS), Hung Chien-yao (TPE)
67 – Micah Lauren Shin (USA), Jazz Janewattananond (THA), SSP Chawrasia (IND), Carlos Pigem (ESP)