Bali, Indonesia, October 11: Singapore’s Choo Tze Huang, Thailand’s Jakraphan Premsirigorn and Steve Lewton of England overcame the blustery conditions to sign for matching two-under-par 69s and share the opening lead at the Combiphar Players Championship on Wednesday.
On a day where wind speed reached up to 26 miles per hour and only six players broke par, the trio stood firmly grounded to lead by one shot over Merit leader Masaru Takahashi of Japan, South African Mathiam Keyser and Thailand’s Pitipat Pitimana-are at the New Kuta Golf, Bali.
A host of players, including last week’s winner Blake Snyder of the United States and Malaysia’s Arie Irawan, battled to equal 71s to trail by two shots in seventh place at the US$100,000 Asian Development Tour (ADT) event.
Jakraphan, a one-time ADT winner, fired five birdies against three bogeys while Choo traded four birdies against two dropped shots to sit atop the leaderboard. Lewton, a former winner on the Asian Tour, was the only player in the 99-man field to stay bogey-free with two birdies.
“I played really well today, given the windy conditions out there. My tee shots were very good. It is important to hit good tee shots on tough days like this. I made a good birdie on 15 after rolling in a 60-footer. That was the highlight for me today,” said the 25-year-old Jakraphan.
Choo credited his strong mental resilience for a solid round. Starting from the 10th hole, the Singaporean nailed three birdies in his opening six holes before dropping two shots to turn in 35. He added one more birdie on his way home.
“It was really challenging today with the windy conditions. I started well, making a few putts after hitting some good shots. I had a good chip-in for par from about 15 yards on the 16th hole which was the highlight for me.
“Putting was key for me today and I kept my mental game in check, trying not to get frustrated out there. My distance control was also good in the wind today,” said the 30-year-old Choo, who is chasing for a breakthrough win on the ADT.
The Combiphar Players Championship is the 14th leg of the ADT schedule and also the Tour’s second stop in Indonesia this season.
The winner of the Combiphar Players Championship will take home a prize purse of US$17,500 and receive six Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points while the top-six players and ties earn points based on a sliding scale.
The leading five players on the final Order of Merit at the end of the season will earn their Asian Tour cards for the 2018 season.
For more information on the ADT, please visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com.
Leading first round scores:
69 - Jakraphan PREMSIRIGORN (THA) , CHOO Tze Huang (SGP) , Steve LEWTON (ENG)
70 - Pitipat PITIMANA-ARE (THA) , Masaru TAKAHASHI (JPN) , Mathiam KEYSER (RSA)
71 - Wolmer MURILLO (VEN) , Michael BIBAT (PHI) , Blake SNYDER (USA) , Fajar Win NURYANTO (INA) , Arie Irawan (MAS) , William HARROLD (ENG)
72 - Naraajie E. RAMADHAN PUTRA (A) (INA) , Seungjae MAENG (USA) , Adam BLYTH (AUS) , John CATLIN (USA) , Lexus KEONINH (USA) , Sorachut HANSAPIBAN (THA) , LIU Yan-wei (CHN) , Nattawat SUVAJANAKORN (THA) , Genki OKADA (JPN)
73 - George GANDRANATA (INA) , Phanuvich ONCHU (THA) , Nathan PARK (AUS) , Wisut ARTJANAWAT (THA) , WANG Wei-lun (TWN) , Ian ANDREW (INA) , John Michael O’TOOLE (USA) , David GLEESON (AUS) , Benita KASIADI (INA) , Paul HARRIS (USA)
74 - Hanbo LEE (KOR) , Phatthara AMORNWETCHARAT (THA) , Jay BAYRON (PHI) , Danny MASRIN (INA) , Antonio LASCUNA (PHI) , James BYRNE (SCO) , Andrew WIRAWAN (INA) , Ekthumrong LUANGANURUK (THA) , Puk PRADITTAN (THA)
About Asian Development Tour
The Asian Development Tour was launched in 2010 with the aim of creating a career pathway for professional golfers in Asia. Sanctioned by the Asian Tour, the Asian Development Tour will ultimately create a new playing platform for emerging stars from across Asia and around the world. Through the Asian Tour Qualifying School, players will qualify for the Asian Development Tour and enjoy the opportunity to hone their games and talent through a secondary circuit in Asia. Designed in the same structure as the Web.com Tour in America and European Challenge Tour, the Asian Development Tour is a stepping stone to the Asian Tour and the exciting world of international golf. The Asian Development Tour has been structured to ensure the best opportunities for its members. The leading five players on the Asian Development Tour will earn coveted Asian Tour cards for the following season, ensuring a proper career pathway for aspiring professionals. All ADT events receive Official World Golf Ranking points.