Image by Asian Tour
CHAN TRAILS SIEM BY ONE AT AVANTHA MASTERS
Germany’s Marcel Siem took the opening honours at the inaugural Avantha Masters by posting an eight-under-par 64 for a single shot lead over Chinese Taipei’s Chan Yih-shin on Thursday.
Chan eagled his closing par-five ninth at the DLF Golf and Country Club to sign for a 65 while Singapore’s Lam Chih Bing and Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant took a share of third place alongside five other players on 67 at the €1.5 million (approximately US$2.1 million) tri-sanctioned event between the Asian Tour, European Tour and Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI).
Thailand’s Chapchai Nirat carded a 68 to be among the mix of nine players in 10th place that included Malaysia’s Ben Leong, Australia’s Rick Kulacz and Terry Pilkadaris, Chinese Taipei’s Lin Wen-hong and Thailand’s Kwanchai Tannin.
Siem who is seeking his second professional win, marked his card with three birdies on the 12th, 17th and 18th in his opening back-nine to reach the turn in 33.
The German continued to enjoy another blemish free run in his homeward nine by carding another three birdies followed by a closing eagle.
“I can’t remember the last time that I shot 64. It must be at least three years ago so I’m pretty happy with that. It’s definitely my best round for a few years,” said a delighted Siem.
Chan who won his maiden Asian Tour title at the season-ending event in Bangkok last season overcame a sore back to get his title ambitions back on track in the new season.
The Chinese Taipei player mixed six birdies and an eagle three on the ninth hole to stay in contention for his second Asian Tour win this week.
“I’m happy with my score today, considering that I was getting some treatment for my sore back yesterday. I’m feeling fine now and I ready for the next three days,” said the ever-smiling Chan.
Meanwhile Lam surprised even himself with his opening start after recovering from a severe bout of food poisoning.
“I’m quite surprised with how I played today because I almost couldn’t walk on the course yesterday,” said Lam.
The Singaporean got his Indian campaign underway with three birdies in his opening back-nine.
He then birdied the fourth after the turn and dropped his only shot of the day on the par-four fifth before going on to record two more birdies on the seventh and eighth holes.
“I only dropped one shot on the fifth hole but overall you gain some and you lose some. I’ll try to do what I’ve been doing today by hitting onto the fairway greens and hopefully make some putts to stay in contention for the next three days,” added Lam.
Chapchai continued his Indian sojourn spectacularly when he returned with a blemish-free card that was marked with two birdies and an eagle.
The big-hitting Thai set a new world record when he shot a stunning 32-under-par 256 total en route to victory at the SAIL Open in India last season. Despite nursing a back injury, he is showing early signs of enjoying another memorable run in India again.
Chapchai posted two birdies in his opening three holes before reaching the turn in 34. However, it was his eagle three on the par-five sixth that moved him quickly to second place at one stage in the morning.
He pared his closing three holes to eventually sign for a 68.
“That eagle on the sixth was definitely the highlight of my round today. I hit it long onto the greens with my approach shot and it was a good putt from five feet for the eagle,” said the 26-year-old Thai.
“I had to skip several events early this year as I didn’t feel I would be ready with my back problem. I’m still feeling the effects of it even today and I guess I got lucky with my good score today,” added Chapchai.
Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke signed for a 71 to take a share of 36th place while two-time Asian Tour number one, Jeev Milkha Singh posted a 72 to take a share of 56th place.
“I missed a number of putts and I did not do anything exceptional today. However I know that a really good round tomorrow could very quickly change the scenario for me,” said Singh.