Thitiphun Chuayprakong leads Venetian Macao Open by one stroke and came close to making it two
Thai leads Venetian Macau Open by one shot after first round but it could have been more
There was a quick head scratch and a sigh as Thailand's Thitiphun Chuayprakong contemplated what might have been and looked back over the first round of the US$1 million Venetian Macao Open.
A seven-under-par 64 had given the 22-year-old the outright lead, but he had hit the perfect punch wedge for eagle from 91 feet on the last only to see his ball bounce in and then out of the cup.
Thitiphun drained the 10-putt for birdie, but that little extra breathing space over the field might have been nice heading into the second round.
"It went in and out, but I still made birdie. It was a lucky day for me," the 22-year-old said. "Today I had a good short game that allowed me to make a lot of birdies. It was fantastic for me to make 29 coming in."
Thitiphun finished third at the Macau Golf and Country Club behind India's Gaganjeet Bhullar back in 2012.
He said the layout normally played to his strengths - his driving in particular - although that aspect of his game deserted him yesterday. Thankfully his putting was red-hot with only 21 putts needed across a whole round that was lit up by six birdies in Thitiphun's back nine.
"I've worked a lot on my putting over the last year and it's beginning to pay off," said Thitiphun who is still waiting for his breakthrough Asian Tour victory. "I like this course because the key is the tee shot. That's usually my strength. Not today but, hopefully, for the next three rounds."
Back on six-under and tied for second after the first day's play were Korea's Wang Jeung-hun and Bangladeshi Siddikur Rahman while reigning Macau Open champion Anirban Lahiri was left among four players lurking with intent at five-under
The Indian rattled off the reasons he could be forgiven for thinking about what might have been also across a round that was regardless bogey free.
"I can't really complain, but I hit a really good putt on six, great putt on seven, good putt on nine, good putt on 11, good putt on 12, very good putt on 15, but they just didn't drop," he said.
"Hopefully, I can make a few more of the those six-footers through the rest of the week."
Four-time major winner Ernie Els had a birdie four on the last to bring some relief as he signed for a three-over 74.