Kaohsiung, Taiwan, July 31: Thailand’s Sattaya Supupramai fired a flawless six-under-par 66 to grab a share of the opening round lead with local hope Huang Tung-liang at the US$110,000 Ballantine’s Taiwan Championship on Thursday.
Sattaya sank four birdies and one eagle at the highly-rated Ta Kang Shan Golf Course in Kaohsiung city while Huang fired seven birdies against one bogey at the Asian Development Tour (ADT) tournament, which is returning to the schedule for its fifth edition this week.
Australian Michael Moore and Englishmen Grant Jackson and Peter Richardson posted matching 67s to trail the leading duo by one-shot. ADT Order of Merit leader Chan Shih-chang of Chinese Taipei, winner of the Taifong Open last week, was tied in sixth place with six other players including local veteran Lin Wen-tang after signing for a 68.
Sattaya was delighted with his opening round efforts after gradually making improvements in his game since working with his new coach, Boy, a few months ago. He has been hunting for a second ADT title after claiming his maiden win at the ICTSI Mount Malarayat Classic in the Philippines last year.
“I think I’m performing better ever since I started working with my new coach. My swing is good and my game is in a good shape too. It was not that windy this morning so it was pretty much an advantage for me. There are still a lot to do to stay up there for the next few rounds so we will see how it goes,” said the 30-year-old Thai.
Sattaya also credited his improved mental game to his strong start. “I think my mental game is getting better. I try to stay committed and focused in every shot I make and not rush through the game. I try not to get ahead of myself as well and take things at my own pace. It’s good to see the efforts paying off and I am feeling more confident now,” added Sattaya.
Huang remained modest with his good performance and claimed that his solid putting and iron-play worked to his advantage.
“My iron-play and putting were great today. I managed to chip in for birdies on the third and 12th holes as well which were really pleasing. Today’s round has given me a boost in confidence and I will continue to do my best for the next few rounds,” said Huang.
“My initial target was to make the cut so I am very happy with how I played today. I think enjoying the game is the most important so I won’t give myself any pressure. I’m looking forward to the next round,” added Huang.
The ADT was launched with five tournaments in 2010 before growing to eight in 2011, 13 in 2012, 16 in 2013 and a record 20 tournaments in the 2014 season.
This season, the ADT will reward the top five players on the final Order of Merit with playing rights for the 2015 Asian Tour season and also continue to offer Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points.
Leading first round scores:
66 – HUANG Tung-liang (TPE), Sattaya SUPUPRAMAI (THA)
67 – Peter RICHARDSON (ENG), Michael MOORE (AUS), Grant JACKSON (ENG)
68 – CHAN Shih-chang (TPE), Niall TURNER (IRL), LIN Chien-bing (TPE), HSU Hao-sheng (TPE), YEH Yu-chen (A) (TPE), LIN Wen-hong (TPE), LIN Wen-tang (TPE), HUNG Chun-kang (TPE)
69 – SUNG Mao-chang (TPE), HSIEH Tung-shu (TPE), Wisut ARTJANAWAT (THA), YEH Wei-tze (TPE), CHEN Yuan-chi (TPE), HSU Chia-jen (TPE), Victor LEE (KOR), LAM Zhiqun (SIN), LU Wen-teh (TPE), Jay BAYRON (PHI), Pijit PETCHKASEM (THA)
Source: Asian Tour