Thailand’s Pavit Tangkamolprasert is famous for winning a record seven titles on the Asian Development Tour but today he was in seventh heaven on the Asian Tour after sensationally making seven birdies in a row from the first to help him take the lead in International Series Korea.
Pavit, also a two-time winner on the Asian Tour, shot a sublime eight-under-par 63, with the preferred lies rule in play, at Lotte Skyhill Country Club Jeju to top the leaderboard ahead of Korean Eric Chun, in with a 65.
Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond, the 2019 Asian Tour Order of Merit winner, South Africans Justin Harding and Ian Snyman, and Australia’s Brett Rumford all came in with 66s.
The most number of consecutive birdies on the Asian Tour is nine – achieved by Bernd Wiesberger from Austria at the 2017 Maybank Championship, impressively when preferred lies were not used.
However, Pavit’s feat did match the record for most birdies at the start of a round, which three others players have done.
The 33 year old said: “I was a little but lucky on the front nine, but I hit my long irons and mid-irons quite good. The first nine is quite long for me, I had about 170 to 180 yards mostly. I hit it close and made the putts. I think it is the first time I have had seven in a row.”
His eye-catching run came to an end with a bogey on eight, his only dropped shot of the day.
“I hit a bad shot on eight, that was the only mistake I made today, I pushed it off the green to the right. I had to accept that bogey, but everything flowed on the back nine, two birdies coming back,” he added.
He made birdies on 11 and 16 but also had numerous other chances to make gains.
“I didn’t think about a lower score [after seven birdies]. I just enjoyed my round today. I know I hit my driver good, and then I have a chance to hit from the fairways. I can spin the ball on the green here so that’s okay, I just need to hit the fairway first,” said the Thai.
His round today is the continuation of good form recently which saw him record top-15 finishes in his last two events, last week at the International Series Singapore and prior to that the Mandiri Indonesian Open.
Chun produced one of the finest tournament rounds of his 10-year professional career.
Two birdies on the front nine and four on the back at put him out in front for the first time in an Asian Tour event, when he took the clubhouse lead in the morning.
“I think there were a couple of holes that really defined the round for me,” said Chun.
“On one I hit it left, chipped out and made par, and on 13 hit it right, chipped out and made par. And those are the two pars that kept the momentum going. They were probably more precious than the birdies.”
He birdied the fourth and seventh to make the turn two under, before making further ground on the homeward stretch with birdies on 11, 12, 14 and 17.
He added: “After my putt dropped on the first I felt like I could hole everything, and I pretty much did, and my iron shots were pretty good. It’s definitely my best round recently, I haven’t been playing well recently so this is a good turn around for me.
“It is actually not an easy course, you have to hit good drives and make putts. So just going to start again tomorrow and try and shoot 65 everyday.”
A graduate of Northwestern University in the US, the Korean also spent much of childhood growing up in Malaysia, where he was one of the top junior golfers.
Jazz, who won four out of his six Asian Tour titles, including the Korea Open, when he claimed the Tour’s Order of Merit list in 2019, started on the back nine and made birdies on two of his last three holes to start the event strongly.
“It was just a normal round, easy going,” said Jazz.
“Nothing went wrong, nothing went special – it was a boring round which is what I like! I haven’t had one of those for a while. Golf is a weird game, sometimes you find it and sometimes you don’t find it. It is good to have one of these rounds after a couple of months.
“Maybe it is because I’m back in Asia and feel a bit more like at home. I can’t really tell, I can’t quite pinpoint what it is. Hopefully it will continue tomorrow, get some good food tonight and hope the trend continues!”
Harding, always a pre-tournament favourite boasting two Asian Tour wins as well as two on the DP World Tour, made six birdies and dropped one shot.
He said: “I am pretty pleased with it to be honest. I came out of the blocks nicely. I gave myself a lot of chances and rolled in a couple of putts. It felt pretty solid and then had a wobble halfway through. Hit some poor shots but managed to keep the pars on the card.
“At the end of day I am a little grumpy and I would like to have not made bogey on the par three fifth, I would have liked to have not made bogey on seven. It’s got me in there with a shout and yeah I am looking forward to rest of the week. At the end of the day it’s not the guy who makes the most birdies, it’s the guy who makes the least bogeys.”
Filipino Angelo Que, Trevor Simsby and Andrew Ogletree from the United States, Australian Ben Campbell and Korea Yunseok Gang carded 67s – in what is the Asian Tour’s 13th event of the season, and fourth International Series tournament.
Scores after round 1 of the International Series Korea being played at the par 71, 7079 Yards Lotte Skyhill Jeju CC course (am – denotes amateur):
63 – Pavit Tangkamolprasert (THA).
65 – Eric Chun (KOR).
66 – Jazz Janewattananond (THA), Justin Harding (RSA), Brett Rumford (AUS), Ian Snyman (RSA).
67 – Angelo Que (PHI), Ben Campbell (NZL), Yunseok Gang (KOR), Trevor Simsby (USA), Andy Ogletree (USA).
68 – Jeunghun Wang (KOR), Shiv Kapur (IND), Ben Jones (ENG), Woohyun Kim (KOR), Sam Brazel (AUS), Jarin Todd (USA), Berry Henson (USA), Hanbyeol Kim (KOR), Taehoon Ok (KOR), Jaco Ahlers (RSA), S.S.P. Chawrasia (IND), Rattanon Wannasrichan (THA), Keith Horne (RSA).
69 – Yoseop Seo (KOR), Todd Sinnott (AUS), Turk Pettit (USA), Natipong Srithong (THA), Jake Higginbottom (AUS), Sungkug Park (KOR), Sanghun Shin (KOR), Chien-yao Hung (TPE), Chan Shih-chang (TPE), Junsung Kim (KOR), Wade Ormsby (AUS), Bio Kim (KOR), Chang Wei-lun (TPE), Seonghyeon Jeon (KOR).
70 – Seung Park (KOR), Heungchol Joo (KOR), Jeongwoo Ham (KOR), Yikeun Chang (KOR), Peter Uihlein (USA), Veer Ahlawat (IND), Travis Smyth (AUS), Settee Prakongvech (THA), Chase Koepka (USA), Minjun Kim (KOR), Jinsung #875 Kim (KOR), Cory Crawford (AUS), Junghwan Lee (KOR), Sadom Kaewkanjana (THA), Miguel Tabuena (PHI), Zach Bauchou (USA), Kyongjun Moon (KOR), Viraj Madappa (IND), Yongjun Bae (KOR), Danny Masrin (INA), Rory Hie (INA), Sangyeop Lee (KOR), Rashid Khan (IND), Lu Wei-chih (TPE), Jiho Yang (KOR), Daniel Fox (AUS), Yeongsu Kim (KOR), Seungtaek Lee (KOR), Jyoti Randhawa (IND), Byungjun Kim (KOR), Kevin Phelan (IRL), Taeho Kim (KOR).
71 – Poom Saksansin (THA), Phachara Khongwatmai (THA), Steve Lewton (ENG), Itthipat Buranatanyarat (THA), Paul Peterson (USA), Hyungjoon Lee (KOR), Kyungnam Kang (KOR), Jovan Rebula (RSA), Seukhyun Baek (KOR), Gwanwoo Ma (KOR), Scott Vincent (ZIM), Nitithorn Thippong (THA), Siddikur Rahman (BAN), Tristen Strydom (RSA), Bjorn Hellgren (SWE), Honey Baisoya (IND), Hongtaek Kim (KOR), Kasidit Lepkurte (THA).
72 – Neil Schietekat (RSA), Jinjae Byun (KOR), Ajeetesh Sandhu (IND), Blake Windred (AUS), Ben Eccles (AUS), Guntaek Koh (KOR), Scott Strange (AUS), Dongmin Ro (KOR), Gaganjeet Bhullar (IND), Wooyoung Cho (am, KOR), Richard T. Lee (CAN), Miguel Carballo (ARG), S. Chikkarangappa (IND), Dodge Kemmer (USA), Sungyeol Kwon (KOR).
73 – Junseok Lee (AUS), Minchel Choi (KOR), Junsub Park (KOR), Poom Pattaropong (THA), Sebastian Crampton (USA), Adilson Da Silva (BRA), Nicholas Fung (MAS), Rahil Gangjee (IND), Tanapat Pichaikool (THA), Sungmin Cho (KOR), Sungho Lee (KOR), Taichi Kho (am, HKG).
74 – Jinho Choi (KOR), Donlaphatchai Niyomchon (THA), Gyumin Lee (KOR), Tirawat Kaewsiribandit (THA), Kevin Yuan (AUS), Taeyoung Kang (KOR).
75 – Dongmin Kim (KOR), Hyungsung Kim (KOR), Koh Deng Shan (SIN), Ben Leong (MAS), Othman Almulla (KSA), Suradit Yongcharoenchai (THA), Bongsub Kim (KOR).
76 – Danthai Boonma (THA), Dongha #562 Lee (KOR), Janne Kaske (FIN).
77 – Lionel Weber (FRA), Mardan Mamat (SIN), Soonsang Hong (KOR), Heemin Chang (KOR).
78 – Benjamin Follett-Smith (ZIM), Dongeun Kim (KOR), Gyeongjun Kim (KOR), Mitchell Slorach (SIN).
79 – Saud Al Sharif (am, KSA).
80 – Faisal Salhab (am, KSA), Panuphol Pittayarat (THA), Jaeho Kim (KOR).
83 – Ian Song (KOR).