European Tour

Ex-teen star tops in Singapore

accreditation
Panuphol Pittayarat (Getty Images)
Panuphol Pittayarat (Getty Images)

Singapore - Former teen sensation Panuphol Pittayarat buried a frustrating run of form with a nine-under-par 63 on Thursday to lead The Championship by one stroke and raise hopes of a breakthrough win.

The 21-year-old has missed the cut in his last three Asian Tour starts, but after a weather delay he carded nine birdies against no bogeys at Singapore's par-72 Laguna National Golf and Country Club.

Panuphol, nicknamed "Coconut", can crack both his first Asian Tour and European Tour win at the co-sanctioned event, which was moved three weeks ago from South Korea after losing its title sponsor.

While still three rounds away, it would be a victory long in the making after he turned pro at the age of just 14 and has returned five top-10 Asian Tour finishes since.

The Thai lay one shot ahead of Scotland's Scott Jamieson, American David Lipsky, Kim Byung-Jun of South Korea and Singaporean favourite Quincy Quek.

"I gave myself lots of chances to score and I'm very happy with how I played today," said Panuphol, admitting some of his putts were "really unexpected".

"I didn't see it coming but it did come and I'm feeling good about my game right now."

In a relatively lightweight field contesting a purse of $1.5 million, defending champion Brett Rumford was seven off the pace and 2012 winner Bernd Wiesberger was a stroke further back on 71.

The unsponsored tournament was relocated last month from South Korea's Jeju island, where it has been held as the Ballantine's Championship since 2008.

Eighteen players will have to complete their first rounds on Friday after play, held up by an early rain and lightning storm, was suspended because of bad light.

Round one scores from The Championship, co-sanctioned by the European and Asian Tours, at Singapore's Laguna National Golf and Country Club (par-72) on Thursday:

63 - Panuphol Pittayarat (THA)

64 - Scott Jamieson (SCO), David Lipsky (USA), Kim Byung-Jun (KOR), Quincy Quek (SIN)

65 - Mithun Perera (SRI), Kristoffer Broberg (SWE), Felipe Aguilar (CHI), Arnond Vongvanij (THA)

66 - Rafa Cabrera-Bello (ESP), Prom Meesawat (THA), Baek Seuk-Hyun (KOR), Scott Barr (AUS), Moon Kyong-Jun (KOR), Gregory Bourdy (FRA)

67 - Boonchu Ruangkit (THA), Anirban Lahiri (IND), Graeme Storm (ENG), Chan Kim (USA), Chinnarat Phadungsil (THA), Scott Hend (AUS), Anders Hansen (DEN), Jeev Milkha Singh (IND), Victor Riu (FRA)

Selected:

68 - Nicholas Fung (MAS)

71 - Mardan Mamat (SIN), Thaworn Wiratchant (THA)

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
loading... Live
West Indies 149/10
South Africa 298/10
loading... Live
India 217/10
New Zealand 19/0
Voting Booth
What is your favourite sport to watch on TV?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Rugby
40% - 14972 votes
Cricket
12% - 4615 votes
Football
19% - 6997 votes
Athletics
3% - 981 votes
Boxing
1% - 369 votes
Cycling
2% - 893 votes
Golf
5% - 1894 votes
Motorsport
9% - 3231 votes
Tennis
4% - 1341 votes
Water sports
1% - 342 votes
American sports
1% - 466 votes
MMA / WWE / UFC
3% - 1254 votes
Vote