Thailand’s Ratchanon “TK” Chantananuwat started this week by saying he was short of practice because he was busy with his studies but that certainly did not show today as the irrepressible 15-year-old amateur star shot a nine-under-par 63 to take a share of the lead in the inaugural Trust Golf Asian Mixed Cup.
His magical round was matched by Finland’s Sanna Nuutinen, a member of the Ladies European Tour (LET), on the Waterside Course at Siam Country Club, while Thailand’s Phachara Khongwatmai and Hung Chien-yao from Chinese-Taipei carded 65s.
The US$750,000 tournament marks the first time the Asian Tour have staged a mixed event, as it is being jointly sanctioned with the LET.
Ratchanon has now shot two 63s in his last three rounds on the Asian Tour, the first one coming in the third round of the International Series Thailand at Black Mountain Golf Club last month.
“The one thing I have seen with these two 63s is I am not expecting anything,” said the Thai.
“At Black Mountain I birdied 18 to just make the cut, and then I shot nine under with zero expectations. The last three weeks since Black Mountain I have not been playing very much, I have been doing a lot of schoolwork. Out of the six or seven events I have played on the Asian Tour this one is the least I am prepared for, and yet I shot nine under, so I am going to have to start doing something with these low expectations.”
He made an eagle and three birdies on the front and four birdies on the homeward half.
He added: “Obviously with a start like this I am going to try and win it. I now know my approaches aren’t as bad as I thought. I won’t be upset if I don’t shoot nine under again, but I will try and go for as many birdies as possible and make the least bogeys as possible.”
The brilliant young golfer has not missed the cut in his six starts on the Asian Tour and finished third in The Singapore International in January.
Nuutinen’s mightily impressive round was built upon an incredible first nine eight-under-par 28, consisting of eight birdies and a par on five. A birdie on 10 suggested a phenomenal score was on the cards but the birdies dried up and she dropped a shot on 17 before making a birdie on 18 to catch Ratchanon, who was playing in the group ahead.
“I don’t really hole out much in practice rounds so I never really know if it’s coming,” said 30-year-old Nuutinen, who has won three times on the LET Access Series.
“I know I have been doing a lot of good work technique-wise, a little bit in putting. I actually flew home from LA [from LPGA events] to Finland for four days before coming here which was a change of plan. I think that was worth it to see my coaches for a couple of days and this happens next.”
She added: “I would be lying if I said I didn’t think about 59 because I did but it was just at one point. I told myself let’s see how low you can go, nothing really changed after I was nine-under I just kept going. Sometimes I have been in that situation before, and you might get a little bit defensive but I’m too old for that.”
Thailand’s Chanettee Wannasaen and Meghan Maclaren from England are in fifth after firing 66s.
Current Asian Tour Order of Merit leader Sihwan Kim from the United States, who won the International Series Thailand came in with a 68, as did his compatriot and four-time Asian Tour winner John Catlin.
Scores after round 1 of the Trust Golf Asian Mixed Cup 2022 being played at the par 72, 7288 Yards Siam CC course (am – denotes amateur):
63 – Ratchanon Chantananuwat (am, THA), Sanna Nuutinen (FIN).
65 – Phachara Khongwatmai (THA), Hung Chien-yao (TPE).
66 – Chanettee Wannasaen (THA), Meghan MacLaren (ENG).
67 – Arpichaya Yubol (THA), Kyongjun Moon (KOR), Ian Snyman (RSA), Chanoknan Angurasara (THA), Bio Kim (KOR), Todd Sinnott (AUS), Tirawat Kaewsiribandit (THA), Kammalas Namuangruk (THA), Eila Galitsky (am, THA).
68 – John Catlin (USA), Sihwan Kim (USA), Tanapat Pichaikool (THA), Liz Young (ENG), Tiia Koivisto (FIN).
69 – Lydia Hall (WAL), Nitithorn Thippong (THA), Natipong Srithong (THA), Elena Hualde (ESP), Taehee Lee (KOR), Paul Peterson (USA), Karolin Lampert (GER), Keith Horne (RSA), S. Chikkarangappa (IND), Suteepat Prateeptienchai (THA), Ursula Wikstrom (FIN), Paz Marfa Sans (ESP), Ben Leong (MAS), Viraj Madappa (IND), Othman Almulla (KSA).
70 – Jarin Todd (USA), Michele Thomson (SCO), Sadom Kaewkanjana (THA), Prayad Marksaeng (THA), Krista Bakker (FIN), Diksha Dagar (IND), Micah Lauren Shin (USA), Nicole Garcia (RSA), Dodge Kemmer (USA), Prom Meesawat (THA), Berry Henson (USA), Witchayanon Chothirunrungrueng (THA), Danthai Boonma (THA), Parinda Phokan (THA), Aman Raj (IND), Mo Lim (THA).
71 – Chan Shih-chang (TPE), Suradit Yongcharoenchai (THA), Kanyalak Preedasutti (THA), Travis Smyth (AUS), Adilson Da Silva (BRA), Miguel Tabuena (PHI), Rattanon Wannasrichan (THA), Agathe Sauzon (FRA), Pavit Tangkamolprasert (THA), Rashid Khan (IND), Bjorn Hellgren (SWE), Florentyna Parker (ENG), Phannarai Meesom-Us (THA), Gabriella Cowley (ENG), Shiv Kapur (IND), Tvesa Malik (IND), Kosuke Hamamoto (THA), Masahiro Kawamura (JPN), Andrew Dodt (AUS), S.S.P. Chawrasia (IND), Supamas Sangchan (THA), Linda Wessberg (SWE), Kanphanitnan Muangkhumsakul (THA), Jaravee Boonchant (THA), Chang Wei-lun (TPE).
72 – Casandra Alexander (RSA), Joohyung Kim (KOR), Pasqualle Coffa (NED), Maja Stark (SWE), Nobuhle Dlamini (SWZ), Chloe Williams (WAL), Johanna Gustavsson (SWE), Rory Hie (INA), Trichat Cheenglab (THA), Poom Saksansin (THA), Chonlada Chayanun (THA), Becky Brewerton (WAL), Jazz Janewattananond (THA), Alice Hewson (ENG), Kim Metraux (SUI), Marianne Skarpnord (NOR), Sophie Witt (GER), Lu Wei-chih (TPE), Onkanok Soisuwan (THA), Ajeetesh Sandhu (IND), Doyeob Mun (KOR), Nirun Sae-Ueng (THA), Sofie Bringner (SWE), Ploychompoo Wilairungrueng (THA), Nattagate Nimitpongkul (THA).
73 – Josh Younger (AUS), Olivia Mehaffey (NIR), Whitney Hillier (AUS), Chapchai Nirat (THA), Trevor Simsby (USA), Noora Komulainen (FIN), Wassawan Sangkapong (THA), Yikeun Chang (KOR), Siddikur Rahman (BAN), Danny Masrin (INA), Charlotte Liautier (FRA), Lina Boqvist (SWE), Daniel Fox (AUS), Jack Harrison (ENG).
74 – Witchayapat Sinsrang (THA), Nemittra Juntanaket (THA), Maria Hernandez (ESP), Gaganjeet Bhullar (IND), Gabrielle Macdonald (SCO), Jake Higginbottom (AUS), Kwanchai Tannin (THA), Janne Kaske (FIN), Leticia Ras-Anderica (GER), Manon De Roey (BEL), Pavarisa Yoktuan (THA).
75 – Harang Lee (ESP), Scott Hend (AUS), Carmen Alonso (ESP), Isabella Deilert (SWE), Benjamin Follett-Smith (ZIM), Karoline Lund (NOR).
76 – Magdalena Simmermacher (ARG), Felicity Johnson (ENG), Marta Martin (ESP), Anais Meyssonnier (FRA).
77 – Emilia Tukiainen (FIN), Sarina Schmidt (GER), Ines Laklalech (MOR), Cloe Frankish (ENG), Anais Maggetti (SUI), Anne-Charlotte Mora (FRA).
84 – Annabel Dimmock (ENG).