Golf-Thai duo share lead after first round in Myanmar

Thu Feb 21, 2013 1:20pm GMT

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Feb 21 (Reuters) - Big-hitting Thailand duo Chapchai Nirat and Kiradech Aphibarnrat made full use of low-scoring conditions to share the lead after the opening round of the Myanmar Open on Thursday.

Both Chapchai and Kiradech hit eight-under 64s to take a one-shot lead in the $300,000 event, the first on the Asian Tour calendar, at the Royal Mingalardon Golf and Country Club.

Another Thai player, Prom Meesawat, and Joonas Granberg of Finland closed the day tied in third place, one shot behind at seven-under 65.

Three-times Asian Tour winner Chapchai, 29, combined nine birdies with one bogey in his round.

"My putting was very good. Last year I struggled with my putter. Usually when you start the first tournament, you feel a bit uneasy but it was different today," he said. "Putting is very important for me. If I can putt well, I feel confident.

"The fairways and greens are quite big but the greens are undulating so your iron shots need to be accurate."

Reigning Tour winner Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand had the honour of teeing off first to start the season and settled for a one-under 71.

Kiradech, who last year lost the playoff final to Kieran Pratt of Australia at the same event, mixed six birdies and an eagle during a spotless round.

"I think the course is the same as last year but my game is better than last year," the 23-year-old said.

"This year I'm hitting it better. The greens are faster and smoother though." (Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Clare Fallon)

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