Nov 07, 2019: Young Thai amateur Natthaphat Harnchokchaiskul stole the show by opening his campaign with a solid seven-under-par 64 to grab a one-shot lead at the US$300,000 Thailand Open on Thursday.
The 19-year-old Natthaphat, one of the 10 amateurs in the field this week, received a late confirmation into the event on Sunday night but would find himself at the top of the leaderboard after firing eight birdies against a bogey at the Thai Country Club.
Starting from the first, Natthaphat reeled in four straight pars before nailing seven birdies in his next 11 holes. He stumbled with a bogey on 16 but bounced back swiftly with another birdie on 17 before closing with a par to take the lead for the first time in a professional tournament.
Phachara Khongwatmai impressed in his first attempt at tackling the course as he returned with a bogey-free round highlighted by six birdies to take second place at his National Open, which is co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the Thailand Golf Association.
Asian Tour Qualifying School graduate Aadil Bedi of India also kept the blemishes off his card to card a commendable 66 in his debut appearance at the Thailand Open. The 18-year-old shares third place with Thaya Limpipolpaibul of Thailand and Soomin Lee of Korea.
Singaporean veteran Mardan Mamat and American John Catlin, who hold a combined total of eight Asian Tour titles, were among those bunched in sixth place following matching rounds of 67s in the full-field event.
Defending champion Panuphol Pittayarat of Thailand had a round to forget after registering a 74 to sit in tied-110th place at the Thailand Open, which returned to the Thai Country Club for its third straight edition on the Asian Tour this week.
The Thailand Open marks the start of the Asian Tour’s 2019/20 Panasonic Swing, which is a ranking based on an aggregate point race that spans five events with the final top-three players chasing a share of a lucrative bonus pool.
Did you know?
- Aadil Bedi turned professional last October. He is only 18 years old.
- Bedi came through the Qualifying School in his first attempt and secured his Asian Tour card for 2019.
- Bedi claimed his first top-five finish on the Asian Tour on his home soil earlier in September. Sitting in 111th position on the Order of Merit, Bedi needs a solid result this week to boost his ranking. He has to finish inside top-60 on the money list to retain his card for the 2020 season.
- Bedi picked up the game when he was just four years old.
- Throughout his 13-year amateur career, Bedi has won 171 Medals and trophies. He has also represented India in all the Elite and Major Amateur matches of the world including Asian games, British Amateur, the Australian Masters of Amateur, Singapore Amateur and Eisenhower Cup, Ireland.
- Bedi represented India as an amateur at the 2018 Asian Games. He led the field for the first three days but eventually missed out on a podium finish on the final day, finishing in 13th place.