Asian Tour: Pavit Tangkamolprasert leads at International Series Korea after sensational start of seven successive birdies
- Thailand’s Pavit shoots a sublime eight-under-par 63 at Lotte Skyhill Country Club in Jeju to top the leader board ahead of Eric Chun
- ‘I was a little but lucky on the front nine, but I hit my long irons and mid-irons quite good,’ the 33-year-old Pavit says
Thailand’s Pavit Tangkamolprasert is famous for winning a record seven titles on the Asian Development Tour but on Thursday he was in seventh heaven on the Asian Tour, after sensationally making seven birdies in a row from the first to help him take the lead in International Series Korea.
Pavit, also a two-time winner on the Asian Tour, shot a sublime eight-under-par 63, with the preferred lies rule in play, at Lotte Skyhill Country Club Jeju to top the leader board ahead of Korean Eric Chun, in with a 65.
Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond, the 2019 Asian Tour Order of Merit winner, South Africans Justin Harding and Ian Snyman, and Australia’s Brett Rumford all came in with 66s.
The most number of consecutive birdies on the Asian Tour is nine – achieved by Bernd Wiesberger from Austria at the 2017 Maybank Championship, impressively when preferred lies were not used.
However, Pavit’s feat did match the record for most birdies at the start of a round, which three others players have done.
“I was a little but lucky on the front nine, but I hit my long irons and mid-irons quite good,” the 33-year-old said. “The first nine is quite long for me, I had about 170 to 180 yards mostly. I hit it close and made the putts. I think it is the first time I have had seven in a row.”
His eye-catching run came to an end with a bogey on eight, his only dropped shot of the day.
“I hit a bad shot on eight, that was the only mistake I made today, I pushed it off the green to the right. I had to accept that bogey, but everything flowed on the back nine, two birdies coming back,” Pavit added.
He made birdies on 11 and 16 but also had numerous other chances to make gains.
“I didn’t think about a lower score [after seven birdies]. I just enjoyed my round today. I know I hit my driver good, and then I have a chance to hit from the fairways. I can spin the ball on the green here so that’s OK, I just need to hit the fairway first,” said the Thai.
His round on Thursday is the continuation of good form recently which saw him record top-15 finishes in his last two events, last week at the International Series Singapore and before that the Mandiri Indonesian Open.
Chun produced one of the finest tournament rounds of his 10-year professional career.
Two birdies on the front nine and four on the back at put him out in front for the first time in an Asian Tour event, when he took the clubhouse lead in the morning.
“I think there were a couple of holes that really defined the round for me,” said Chun.
“On one I hit it left, chipped out and made par, and on 13 hit it right, chipped out and made par. And those are the two pars that kept the momentum going. They were probably more precious than the birdies.”
He birdied the fourth and seventh to make the turn two under, before making further ground on the homeward stretch with birdies on 11, 12, 14 and 17.
A graduate of Northwestern University in the US, the Korean also spent much of his childhood growing up in Malaysia, where he was one of the top junior golfers.
Jazz, who won four out of his six Asian Tour titles, including the Korea Open, when he claimed the Tour’s Order of Merit list in 2019, started on the back nine and made birdies on two of his last three holes to start the event strongly.
Harding, always a pre-tournament favourite boasting two Asian Tour wins as well as two on the DP World Tour, made six birdies and dropped one shot.
Filipino Angelo Que, Trevor Simsby and Andrew Ogletree from the United States, Australian Ben Campbell and Korea Yunseok Gang carded 67s – in what is the Asian Tour’s 13th event of the season, and fourth International Series tournament