Singapore: Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant stormed ahead with an opening nine-under-par 61 to take the clubhouse lead after the first round of the ISPS Handa Singapore Classic was suspended due to darkness on Thursday.
Korean-American David Lipsky continued his fine run in his rookie season with a polished 63 to take second place while Sam Cyr of the United States returned with a 66 to take a share of third place with Malaysia’s Shaaban Hussin at Orchid Country Club.
Chinese Taipei’s Lu Wei-chih, who recorded the event’s first hole-in-one on the 13th hole, is at four-under through 12 holes with American Jonathan Moore who has nine holes to play at the US$400,000 full field Asian Tour event.
Thunderstorms in the afternoon forced two lengthy play suspensions that stretched over three hours. As a result, all 78 players from the afternoon session could not complete their rounds and will have to return at 7.30am (local time) to tee up again.
Thaworn, a 12-time Asian Tour winner, would have set a course record if not for the preferred lies ruling which was in force today.
The Thai veteran, who teed off in the back-nine, got off to a strong start with two birdies in his opening three holes.
He marked his card with another birdie on the par-four 17th before dropping his lone bogey at the 18th hole to turn in 32.
The 45-year-old then showed his mettle when he blitzed the front-nine with seven birdies to return home in 61, which is the 2012 season’s lowest 18-hole score so far.
“There was never any pressure for me out there. When I stepped up to the tee today, I was already feeling very confident and I had a good feeling about my round today,” said Thaworn.
“This course suits my game and I’m looking forward to the rest of the week,” added the Thai.
Meanwhile Lipsky, who won the Asian Tour Qualifying School in January followed by his maiden win at the HANDA FALDO Cambodian Classic last month, is excited with his dream run on Tour.
“I’m taking the momentum I’ve got from Qualifying school and trying to keep it going especially after my win in Cambodia,” said Lipsky.
The 23-year-old, who described his day as a fun one, is hopeful that his good form will inspire him towards another grandstand finish.
“It was a fun day indeed. Thaworn also played very well and we sort of fed off each other. After I made my second birdie on the 16th from off the green, I was basically cruising from there,” said Lipsky who will play alongside Thaworn in his opening two rounds.
Although Cyr acknowledged that he had put in a good round today, the 25-year-old American knows that he has to work on his short game so as to stand a chance of lifting his maiden title at this week’s event where over 40 champions, with no fewer than 100 Asian Tour victories accumulated between them will be in action.
“I think I’ve to clean up the putter a little bit and make a couple more putts. My wedge game needs to improve as I didn’t hit my wedges as close to as what I probably should have to give myself birdie chances,” said Cyr.
The ISPS Handa Singapore Classic will be beamed live to a world-wide audience on the Asian Tour’s global television platform as well as on Singapore’s MediaCorp Channel 5 during the weekend rounds.
Leading morning scores after round 1 of the ISPS Handa Singapore Classic being played at the par 70, 6835 Yards Orchid Country Club course (a- denotes amateur):
61 - Thaworn WIRATCHANT (THA).
63 - David LIPSKY (USA).
66 - Sam CYR (USA), Shaaban HUSSIN (MAS).
67 - Mithun PERERA (SRI), Rikard KARLBERG (SWE), Jbe KRUGER (RSA), Kieran PRATT (AUS), Scott BARR (AUS), BAEK Seuk-hyun (KOR), Guy WOODMAN (ENG), Matthew ROSENFELD (USA), Quincy QUEK (SIN), Unho PARK (AUS).
68 - Joon LEE (KOR), Jeev Milkha SINGH (IND), Tim STEWART (AUS), LIN Wen-hong (TPE).
69 - Niklaus CHIAM (am, SIN), Thanyakon KHRONGPHA (THA), Peter KARMIS (RSA), Pariya JUNHASAVASDIKUL (THA), Zaw MOE (MYN), Mardan MAMAT (SIN), Adam GROOM (AUS), HSU Mong-nan (TPE), HONG Soon-sang (KOR), Kunal BHASIN (AUS), PARK Hyun-bin (KOR), Rory HIE (INA).
70 - Atiwit JANEWATTANANOND (THA), Kwanchai TANNIN (THA), Prayad MARKSAENG (THA), Stephen LEWTON (ENG), MO Joong-kyung (KOR), Adam BLYTH (AUS), KOH Deng Shan (SIN).
71 - Marc ONG (am, SIN), Jimmy POH (SIN), Angelo QUE (PHI), Rick KULACZ (AUS), Wade ORMSBY (AUS), Mars PUCAY (PHI), Ben LEONG (MAS).
72 - Masanori KOBAYASHI (JPN), Ajeetesh SANDHU (IND), Adilson DA SILVA (BRA), LU Tze-shyan (TPE), Darren BECK (AUS), Sukree OTHMAN (MAS), Gavin FLINT (AUS), Atthaphon PRATHUMMANEE (THA), PARK Il-hwan (KOR), Vincent KHUA (SIN).
73 - LAM Chih Bing (SIN)
By Indian Sports News Network