Despite nursing a knee injury, the 2013 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion showed he can still produce a worthy performance at the world’s oldest Major by taking a share of third place with 12 other players which also include Major winners like Spain’s Sergio Garcia and world number one Brooks Koepka of the United States.
“The knee’s still affecting the golf swing but I played really solid golf today as I managed to control my energy levels and pace myself really well today,” said Kiradech, who is making his sixth appearance at The Open.
Kiradech will start his second round two shots back of American leader JB Holmes, who overcame an opening bogey before firing six birdies to take the day’s honours with a 66.
“I’ve been practicing the last couple of weeks. I’ve been playing great. So actually I felt great and very confident coming in. I was hitting it great and I putted well. I wasn’t really surprised with today’s result. I mean, I played well,” said Holmes.
Korea’s Sanghyun Park, who missed the cut in his Carnoustie debut last year, showed early promise by signing for a 69 to end the day tied for 16th while India’s Shubhankar Sharma was pleased with his opening round efforts after posting a 70 to take a share of 20th place.
“It was a good day today. One-under is always a good start and I couldn’t have asked for more. The major takeaway from today was I managed to stay bogey-free as I made a few crucial par putts coming in especially the ones from 14 to 16,” said Sharma, the reigning Asian Tour Order of Merit champion.
Debutant Mikumu Horikawa of Japan along with South Africa’s Justin Harding signed for a 71 to share 42nd place while Thailand’s Gunn Charoenkul mixed his card with two bogeys and a birdie to take tied-54th place along with Yosuke Asaji of Japan.
Thailand’s Prom Messawat and South Africa’s Shaun Norris are a further shot back in a share of 72nd place after returning with matching 73s.
Americans Kurt Kitayama and David Lipsky together with Thailand’s Jazz Janewattanond and Korea’s Doyeob Mun struggled with their respective 74s while Australia’s Jake McLeod, Japan’s Yuta Ikeda and Korea’s Dongkyu Jang had a day to forget when they returned with matching 76s.