Sriroj soars to the top with nine-under

Sriroj soars to the top with nine-under

Thammanoon Sriroj of Thailand in action on the first day of the TAKE Solutions Masters Golf tournament at the KGA course on Thursday. DH Photo/ Srikanta Sharma R

Much like the previous edition of the TAKE Solutions Masters, it was Thai dominance that headlined the event as Thammanoon Sriroj fired a blistering round to sit atop the leaderboard at the end of day one.

Under almost perfect golfing conditions at the Karnataka Golf Association (KGA) on Thursday Sriroj shot nine-under 62, ahead of his nearest competitors by four shots. The round has put Sriroj in pole position to wrest the trophy from his compatriot Poom Saksansin (even-par 71).

It was an ideal start for the veteran -- who last won on the Asian Tour way back in 2004 at the Tianjin TEDA Open in China -- as he sank five consecutive birdies after teeing off on the back nine. With a mind-boggling 10 birdies, the best coming on the sixth hole with a 15-yard putt, and just the single blemish on the seventh hole, the Thai will look to consolidate his position come Friday morning.

Sriroj had done well to save par on the 17th after hitting the rough but couldn't replicate it at the seventh. Finding the rough once again, off the tee, he was forced to chip out onto the fairway before finding the green. Faced with 15-yard putt, Sriroj watched agonisingly as his ball lipped out.

“This course doesn't really suit my game but things fell in place nicely today. When I started out with five birdies, I thought it was probably luck, but as the round progressed I started to realise that it was my talent,” quipped the 49-year-old.

If Sriroj's sparkling round wowed the small group of spectators, the relatively unknown youngster Feroz Singh Garewal enjoyed a fine run into tied-second after shooting five-under 66. Alongside Garewal are Thailand's Danthai Boonma and Suradit Yongcharoenchai, Zimbabwean Scott Vincent and Miguel Carballo of Argentina.

Local favourite Khalin Joshi put himself in contention scoring a healthy four-under 67 and is tied-seventh with seven other golfers. Asian Games contenders Aadil Bedi (three-under 68) and Harimohan Singh (two-under 69) also had strong outings but another golfer who will join them at the quadrennial event, Rayhan Thomas, endured a lacklustre outing with three-over 74 and has a real fight on his hands if he hopes to progress to the business end of the tournament.

Unlucky Mane

There was drama for Udayan Mane (six-over 77) on the par-four fifth as he went for broke after finding himself in the rough after his first shot.

Trying to get onto the green from a tight angle, Mane's ball was lodged in a tree. Efforts to find it proved unsuccessful and Mane was forced to replay his shot from the original spot, enduring a penalty of one stroke.

As per rules, "If your ball is lost outside a water hazard or out of bounds you must play another ball from the spot where the last shot was played, under penalty of one stroke, i.e. stroke and distance. You are allowed five minutes to search for a ball. If it is not found within five minutes it is lost."


Leaderboard (After Round One): 62: Thammanoon Sriroj (Tha); 66: Feroz Singh Garewal (Ind), Danthai Boonma (Tha), Suradit Yongcharoenchai (Tha), Scott Vincent (Zim), Miguel Carballo (Arg); 67: Khalin Joshi (Ind), Arnond Vongvanij (Tha), Om Prakash Chouhan (Ind), Maverick Antcliff (Aus), Jake McLeod (Aus), Settee Prakongvech (Tha), Anura Rohana (SL).

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