Filipino Miguel Tabuena and Dodge Kemmer from the United States enjoyed a brilliant start to the International Series Thailand today carding eight-under-par 64s to take the lead on day one.
The duo lead from Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Jazz Janewattananond who fired 65s at Black Mountain Golf Club, in Hua Hin.
Hong Kong’s Taichi Kho, American Turk Pettit, Andrew Dodt from Australia, Korean Bio Kim and Thailand’s Nitithorn Thippong, Danthai Boonma, Ekpharit Wu, and Settee Prakongvech, all came in with 66s.
The US$2 million event is the fifth event of the season on the Asian Tour, and third International Series tournament.
Last year Tabuena endured an uncharacteristically poor season and only just retained his Tour card. The top 70 on the Asian Tour Order of Merit kept their cards and Tabuena finished 70th, exactly US$71.89 ahead of none other than Kemmer, in 71st position.
But he has returned with a vengeance this year and finished in the top 15 in his last two events on Tour, the International Series tournaments in Oman and Qatar.
“It is a bit of a long story, I didn’t play too well last year,” said the 28 year old.
“I had some time off, but I was lucky enough to keep my card by about 50 dollars, I was the last person to get in, and I told myself that is never going to happen again.
“I worked really hard during the off season, and I guess it is showing a bit. I finished 13th in Oman and top 10 in Qatar. The game has been there, even back home. I am just glad it’s coming together.”
He made four birdies on each nine including one on the final hole.
He added: “The course is pretty gettable in the morning. I was lucky enough to get off to a hot start. I was four under after six. I actually left a couple of putts out there, mis-read two of them. I was lucky enough to finish with a birdie on the last. Can’t complain shooting 64.”
The Filipino’s fine round could not have come at a better time as he was watched all the way by his family.
“My whole family is here, finally, it has been a few years. It’s just been my wife for the past couple of tournaments, but I am very, very grateful to have my dad here, my mum, brother and sister,” said Tabuena, who last victory came in 2018 at the Queen’s Cup, also here in Thailand.
Kemmer made up for not keeping his card via the Merit list by earning it through a top 10 finish on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) Order of Merit.
“Kind of a slow start, got a lot of chances and took a while to figure out the greens,” said Kemmer, who played the back nine in six-under-par 30 which included a three putt for par on 18 .
“I turned in two under and then started hitting my wedges pretty close, a bunch of them within four or five feet, that took some of the guess work out of the greens.
“I will try and do better tomorrow, keep swinging aggressively and maybe learn a little bit more about the greens and make even more putts.”
The American’s good season on the ADT was highlighted by victory in the Gurugram Classic in India in April.
He added: “I had great season on ADT, won once with a bunch of top fives, never quite got it going on the Asian Tour. So I knew it was in there, been hitting it nicely this year. Great to get off to a good start.”
As expected Kiradech, looking for his first win in five years, has made a strong start.
“Opening round, one stroke behind, seven under, always great to start that way,” said Kiradech, who missed a 20-foot eagle putt on the par-five 18th having hit a brilliant second shot using his three wood 300 yards.
“I am striking the ball much better. I am working with my new trainer, my swing coach Mike Walker, I think we are working it the right way. I just need one good week to get everything together. And hopefully my body is strong enough to play these next four days. I have played with an injury a lot over the past three years, hurt my right knee, my left hip, it just popped up.”
Scores after round 1 of the International Series Thailand being played at the par 72, 7551 Yards Black Mountain GC course (am – denotes amateur):
64 – Miguel Tabuena (PHI), Dodge Kemmer (USA).
65 – Kiradech Aphibarnrat (THA), Jazz Janewattananond (THA).
66 – Ekpharit Wu (THA), Taichi Kho (HKG), Danthai Boonma (THA), Turk Pettit (USA), Settee Prakongvech (THA), Andrew Dodt (AUS), Nitithorn Thippong (THA), Bio Kim (KOR).
67 – Jaewoong Eom (KOR), Sanghyun Park (KOR), Steve Lewton (ENG), Yosuke Asaji (JPN), Zach Murray (AUS), S. Chikkarangappa (IND), Kartik Sharma (IND), Minkyu Kim (KOR), Chan Shih-chang (TPE), Kevin Yuan (AUS), Yeongsu Kim (KOR), Wang Wei-hsuan (TPE), Mingyu Cho (KOR).
68 – Douglas Klein (AUS), Travis Smyth (AUS), Pavit Tangkamolprasert (THA), Yonggu Shin (CAN), Meenwhee Kim (KOR), Jack Thompson (AUS), Dominic Foos (GER), Taehee Lee (KOR), Wade Ormsby (AUS), Prayad Marksaeng (THA), Chonlatit Chuenboonngam (THA), Taehoon Ok (KOR), Bai Zhengkai (CHN), Suteepat Prateeptienchai (THA), Shahriffuddin Ariffin (MAS), Thanpisit Omsin (THA).
69 – Runchanapong Youprayong (THA), Nick Paez (USA), Gaganjeet Bhullar (IND), Terry Pilkadaris (AUS), Prom Meesawat (THA), Karandeep Kochhar (IND), Ryuichi Oiwa (JPN), Nick Voke (NZL), Yongjun Bae (KOR), Dechawat Phetprayoon (THA), Shunya Takeyasu (JPN), Alex Ching (USA), Kyongjun Moon (KOR), Ratchanon Chantananuwat (am, THA), Andy Ogletree (USA), Pawin Ingkhapradit (THA), Jinichiro Kozuma (JPN), Ben Campbell (NZL), Todd Sinnott (AUS), Natipong Srithong (THA), Chanat Sakulpolphaisan (THA).
70 – Jeremy Gandon (FRA), Matthew Cheung (HKG), Denwit Boriboonsub (THA), Mardan Mamat (SIN), Jbe Kruger (RSA), Chang Wei-lun (TPE), Phachara Khongwatmai (THA), Gunn Charoenkul (THA), Micah Lauren Shin (USA), Tanapat Pichaikool (THA), Hanmil Jung (KOR), Chapchai Nirat (THA), Richard T. Lee (CAN), Siddikur Rahman (BAN), Kaito Onishi (JPN), Veer Ahlawat (IND), Sadom Kaewkanjana (THA), Poom Saksansin (THA), Jyoti Randhawa (IND), Michael Maguire (USA), Justin Quiban (PHI), Koh Deng Shan (SIN), CharngTai Sudsom (THA).
71 – Lee Chieh-po (TPE), Kosuke Hamamoto (THA), Rikard Karlberg (SWE), Sarit Suwannarut (THA), Berry Henson (USA), Sebastian Soderberg (SWE), Marcus Fraser (AUS), Panuphol Pittayarat (THA), Kwanchai Tannin (THA), Jack Murdoch (AUS), Chirat Jirasuwan (THA), Jakraphan Premsirigorn (THA), Ben Jones (ENG), David Drysdale (SCO), Matt Sharpstene (USA), Trevor Simsby (USA), Ben Leong (MAS), Miguel Carballo (ARG), Hung Chien-yao (TPE), Suradit Yongcharoenchai (THA), Tirawat Kaewsiribandit (THA), Seungtaek Lee (KOR), Sangpil Yoon (KOR), Newport Laparojkit (THA).
72 – Warun Ieamgaew (THA), Othman Almulla (KSA), Lloyd Jefferson Go (PHI), Itthipat Buranatanyarat (THA), Scott Hend (AUS), Ryosuke Kinoshita (JPN), Tomoyo Ikemura (JPN), John Lyras (AUS), Johan Edfors (SWE), Rattanon Wannasrichan (THA), Ian Snyman (RSA), Jarin Todd (USA), Naraajie E. Ramadhanputra (INA).
73 – Taewoo Kim #1468 (KOR), Eunshin Park (KOR), Neil Schietekat (RSA), Jeev Mikha Singh (IND), Yikeun Chang (KOR), Matt Killen (ENG), David Hague (ENG), Doyeob Mun (KOR), Pol Kemmarat (THA), Dru Love (USA), Nicholas Fung (MAS), Honey Baisoya (IND), Thomas Power Horan (AUS), Wocheng Ye (CHN), Saud Al Sharif (KSA).
74 – Thaworn Wiratchant (THA), Kieran Vincent (ZIM), Yoseop Seo (KOR), Harrison Gilbert (AUS), Varanyu Rattanaphiboonkij (THA), S.S.P. Chawrasia (IND), Mathiam Keyser (RSA), Chen Guxin (CHN), Witchayanon Chothirunrungrueng (THA).
75 – Viraj Madappa (IND), Witchayapat Sinsrang (THA), Bjorn Hellgren (SWE), Shergo Al Kurdi (JOR).
76 – Atiruj Winaicharoenchai (THA), Mj Viljoen (RSA), Khalin Joshi (IND), Angelo Que (PHI).
78 – Rashid Khan (IND).
79 – Faisal Salhab (KSA).