June 15, 2017: India’s Rashid Khan tied atop with other three to lead the first round of the Queen’s Cup on Thursday. S.S.P. Chawrasia also tied with in top ten at T8 after scoring four-under-par 67.
Thai veteran star Prayad Marksaeng brilliantly launched his quest for an unprecedented third Queen’s Cup title with a solid six-under-par 65 matched by rookie Chanat Sakulpolphaisan, Filipino Angelo Que and India’s Rashid Khan.
The ageless Prayad, who won his 10th Asian Tour win eight days before his 51st birthday at the SMBC Singapore Open in January, soared with an eagle on the 12th hole along with five other birdies at the par-71 Santiburi Samui Country Club.
Countryman Chanat was equally impressive, with the 26-year-old shooting eight birdies against two bogeys while the effervescent Que nailed six birdies over his last seven holes to give himself a chance for a fourth career victory. The 38-year-old Que did not play a practice round after arriving on the holiday isle on Wednesday night.
Like Chanat, the slender Rashid Khan also posted eight birdies, including four in a row on his homeward nine, as he chases a third Asian Tour title in the US$500,000 tournament backed by Bangkok Airways and Sports Authority of Thailand.
“Today I was lucky as my driver and irons were really good. On 12, I sank an eagle from 131 yards. Hit a good wedge that took one bounce before finding the hole. There was no wind this afternoon, but it didn’t really make it easy as it’s a tough course. Putted well on the first nine and then I missed some putts on the back nine. Three putted the 10th for my only bogey. It could have been a lower score.
The course here is very similar to the courses in Japan, which is very tight. That’s why I’m comfortable playing on this golf course after all these years. I know where to hit it to, where my targets should be. If I keep to my game plan, it becomes easy for me. When I’m on the greens, I know where the breaks are which is good.” said Rashid Khan.
Japan’s Daisuke Kataoka, Malaysia’s Nicholas Fung and Chinese Taipei’s Hung Chien-yao shared fifth place on 66 while India’s S.S.P. Chawrasia, who is second on the Order of Merit, is amongst those bunched on 67.
Title holder Scott Hend of Australia fought to a 71 in what is the 10th leg of the 2017 Asian Tour season.
Scores after round 1 of the Queen’s Cup being played at the par 71, 6,851 yards Santiburi Samui CC course (am – denotes amateur):
65 – Chanat SAKULPOLPHAISAN (THA), Rashid KHAN (IND), Angelo QUE (PHI), Prayad MARKSAENG (THA).
66 – Daisuke KATAOKA (JPN), Nicholas FUNG (MAS), HUNG Chien-yao (TPE).
67 – Micah SHIN (USA), Jazz JANEWATTANANOND (THA), S.S.P CHAWRASIA (IND), Carlos PIGEM (ESP).
68 – Chirat JIRASUWAN (THA), Nitithorn THIPPONG (THA), Thanyakon KHRONGPHA (THA), Siddikur RAHMAN (BAN), Jakraphan PREMSIRIGORN (THA), Juvic PAGUNSAN (PHI), Danthai BOONMA (THA), Chinnarat PHADUNGSIL (THA), Prom MEESAWAT (THA), Tawit POLTHAI (THA), Naras LUANGPHETCHARAPORN (THA).