Current Asian Tour number one Sihwan Kim holed an incredible 40-foot eagle putt on the par-five 18th as darkness fell to take the clubhouse lead in the Trust Golf Asian Mixed Stableford Challenge today with an impressive total of 22 points.
The American, who won The International Series Thailand last month, shot a first round 10-under-par 62 at Siam Country Club’s Waterside Course, in what is the Asian Tour’s first Modified Stableford scoring event.
The US$750,000 tournament is also being jointly-sanctioned with the Ladies European Tour.
The hooter to halt play for the day literally sounded as Kim was making his closing putt, during a long day disrupted by a two-hour weather delay in the morning.
“It was one of those rounds where you just look at a putt and it goes in,” said Sihwan Kim, buzzing after also making birdie on 15, 16 and 17 before his grandstand finish.
“I didn’t really hit that well off the tee, I probably hit two fairways on the back nine today, but I was seven under, so I just don’t know.
“[On 18] I didn’t know what the line was, it was too dark to see. I just knew it was going a little right at the end and the horn didn’t really matter because I would have been happy to two putt in the dark, so I just hit it and it just started tracking and it went in.”
Reigning Asian Tour Order of Merit champion Joohyung Kim from Korea sits in second place on 15 points along with Hung Chien-yao from Chinese-Taipei, Indian Viraj Madappa and Rory Hie from Indonesia.
Ratchanon “TK” Chantananuwat from Thailand who claimed last week’s Trust Golf Asian Mixed Cup at the same venue was paired with Sihwan Kim today and made seven points.
“It was an okay start, but it wasn’t great to be honest. I was one over after five holes (I started on the back nine) but I had a good birdie on 15, a good birdie on 18, so that got things going,” said 19-year-old Joohyung Kim.
“I had a really good putt on one, really good putt on two. I just kept the momentum going. We had a long rain delay and after that I had a five footer for birdie and I got anxious on it but once I got that in I kind of got going. I don’t think I had a par on my back nine. A soft couple of bogeys on my back nine but I got them back.”
The two-time winner on the Asian Tour shot a six-under-par 66 with nine birdies and three bogeys; he made six birdies in a row from the 18th through to the fifth.
He said: That’s my longest streak of birdies in a tournament. I didn’t really realise I was on that roll and when I did I made bogey. It’s interesting playing stableford, it’s very, very different from playing normally. You have to make a lot of birdies in this format. I think instead of playing a different format you keep playing normally and focus on what I have been doing.”
Hung fired a 65 in last week’s first round, before finishing tied for 30th, and did the same today after shooting eight birdies and one bogey.
“Last week we played the same course, and I also did really well on the first day,” said Hung, a former winner on the Asian Development Tour.
“I didn’t play a practice round here Monday and Tuesday to just get in the grove of doing the same thing on every round. The points system is a bit different, I have never played this system before and it’s the first time we have played with the ladies and it’s actually pretty fun, so we see a different side of the game, they can hit really far. So, I had fun last week and this week, so I am happy with my round today. I am just playing as if it’s a normal round and I had a 65 so it’s great.”
Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond, a six-time winner on the Asian Tour and 2019 Merit list champion, scored 12 points, indicating his gradual return to form.
A total of 39 players will complete their rounds at 6.40am local time on Thursday morning.
The Trust Golf Asian Mixed Stableford Challenge will use the Modified Stableford scoring format, which encourages aggressive play.
Unlike traditional scoring methods, where the aim is to have the lowest score, the objective in a Modified Stableford tournament is to have the highest score.
Modified Stableford awards points based on the number of strokes taken at each hole: albatross 8 points, eagle 5 points, birdie 2 points, par 0 points, bogey: -1 point, double bogey or more: -3 points.
The strategy in Modified Stableford formats can, in most instances, be summed up in three words: “Go for it.” This scoring format will reward risk-taking on the golf course.
For current standings, please click here.
Scores after round 1 of the Trust Golf Asian Mixed Stableford Challenge being played at the par 72, 7288 Yards Siam CC course (am – denotes amateur):
+22 – Sihwan Kim (USA).
+15 – Joohyung Kim (KOR), Hung Chien-yao (TPE), Viraj Madappa (IND), Rory Hie (INA).
+14 – Jack Harrison (ENG).
+13 – Ursula Wikstrom (FIN), Chanettee Wannasaen (THA), Phachara Khongwatmai (THA), Arpichaya Yubol (THA).
+12 – Jazz Janewattananond (THA), Mim Sangkapong (THA), Dodge Kemmer (USA).
+11 – Berry Henson (USA), Chang Wei-lun (TPE), Supakom Meesom (THA), Natthakritta Vongtaveelap (am, THA).
+10 – Supamas Sangchan (THA), Kyongjun Moon (KOR), Tirawat Kaewsiribandit (THA), Suteepat Prateeptienchai (THA).
+9 – Andrew Dodt (AUS), Agathe Sauzon (FRA), Jaravee Boonchant (THA), Micah Lauren Shin (USA), Kanphanitnan Muangkhumsakul (THA), Keith Horne (RSA), Whitney Hillier (AUS).
+8 – Florentyna Parker (ENG), Sadom Kaewkanjana (THA), Ratchapol Jantavara (THA).
+7 – Budsabakorn Sukapan (THA), Meghan MacLaren (ENG), Magdalena Simmermacher (ARG), Carmen Alonso (ESP), Gabriella Cowley (ENG), Yikeun Chang (KOR), Chan Shih-chang (TPE), Ratchanon Chantananuwat (am, THA), Jarin Todd (USA).
+6 – Trevor Simsby (USA), Paul Peterson (USA), Todd Sinnott (AUS), Prom Meesawat (THA), Michele Thomson (SCO), Jake Higginbottom (AUS), Karolin Lampert (GER), Manon De Roey (BEL), Chapchai Nirat (THA).
+5 – Danny Masrin (INA), Maja Stark (SWE), Pavit Tangkamolprasert (THA), Tvesa Malik (IND), Taehee Lee (KOR), Johanna Gustavsson (SWE), Aman Raj (IND), Scott Hend (AUS), Bio Kim (KOR).
+4 – S.S.P. Chawrasia (IND), Nattagate Nimitpongkul (THA), Kylie Henry (SCO), Danthai Boonma (THA), Mardan Mamat (SIN), Kosuke Hamamoto (THA), Diksha Dagar (IND), Liz Young (ENG).
+3 – Gaganjeet Bhullar (IND), Witchayanon Chothirunrungrueng (THA), Nitithorn Thippong (THA), Isabella Deilert (SWE), Miguel Tabuena (PHI), Shiv Kapur (IND), Alice Hewson (ENG).
+2 – Pasqualle Coffa (NED), Maria Hernandez (ESP), Lu Wei-chih (TPE), Nobuhle Dlamini (SWZ), Anais Meyssonnier (FRA), Harang Lee (ESP), Othman Almulla (KSA).
+1 – Tiia Koivisto (FIN), Daniel Fox (AUS), Becky Brewerton (WAL), Kim Metraux (SUI), Ben Leong (MAS).
0 – Ajeetesh Sandhu (IND), S. Chikkarangappa (IND), Linda Wessberg (SWE), Trichat Cheenglab (THA), Casandra Alexander (RSA), Pimmada Wongthanavimok (am, THA), Nicole Garcia (RSA), Sanna Nuutinen (FIN).
-1 – Mathiam Keyser (RSA), Janne Kaske (FIN), Cloe Frankish (ENG).
-2 – Hannah Burke (ENG), Marianne Skarpnord (NOR).
-3 – Sirapob Yapala (am, THA), Karoline Lund (NOR), Mo Lim (THA).
-4 – Nicholas Fung (MAS).
-5 – Marta Martin (ESP), Anne-Charlotte Mora (FRA).