Varanyu holds commanding lead at Singha Laguna Phuket Open

Fri 11 May 2018

Varanyu holds commanding lead at Singha Laguna Phuket Open

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Phuket, May 11: Thailand’s Varanyu Rattanaphiboonkij maintained his position at the top with his second round of nine-under-par 61 at the Singha Laguna Phuket Open on Friday.

The 21-year-old Thai carded a flawless round with seven birdies and one eagle to lead the field by seven strokes on a 17-under-par 123 total at the ฿2 million (approx. US$64,000) event co-sanctioned by the Asian Development Tour (ADT) and the All Thailand Golf Tour.

Compatriot Nitithorn Thippong proved relentless in his pursuit of a second ADT win when he returned with a solid round of 66 to take second-place on his own, while Sweden’s Oscar Zetterwall took third place following a 67 at Laguna Phuket.

Starting on the back nine, Varanyu eagled hole 14 after a good drive and solid approach with his five-iron left him with a three-footer tap-in. He made the turn at three-under after a birdie on 18 and would follow with six birdies for an inward 29.

“I was hitting everything solid and I played the three par fives on this course very well and managed to hit the green in two shots on all of them. I enjoy playing this course and being on home ground. Especially since my mother is out here to watch me this week so I want to do well,” said Varanyu.

His low round which topped his opening 62, marked his lowest tournament round he achieved since he turned professional in 2015 and he credits his brother, nicknamed “Benz”, who is on his bag this week.

“I wasn’t nervous at all and I just stuck to my game plan of making fairways and greens. Benz and I were reading the lines well on the greens and I trusted him,” said Varanyu who is vying for a maiden win.

ADT winner Nitithorn mixed his card with six birdies and one double-bogey on the second hole when he pushed his eight-iron into the hazard.

“I was playing steady golf all day except for one missed shot. The pin was tucked in the right side and there was a hazard to the right of the green. I told myself to keep it short and hit it left but I pushed it right instead. But I made 16 greens today which was key for me and there were a lot of positives from the round,” said the 21-year-old.

Playing in the same group tomorrow, the Thai hotshot is ready to put up a good fight against his close friend Varanyu, who played junior golf with him before he joined the play-for-pay ranks.

“I am happy to be playing with him tomorrow since I haven’t seen him in awhile. He is playing so well and I want to try and catch up with him tomorrow on moving day,” added Nitithorn.

The halfway cut was set at one-over-par 141 with a total of 57 players qualifying for the final two rounds.

The Singha Laguna Phuket Open is the eighth leg of the 2018 ADT schedule and the tour’s first stop in Thailand this year. Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points are offered on all ADT events with the winner earning a total of six OWGR points while the top-six players and ties earn points on a sliding scale.

The leading five players on the ADT Order of Merit at the end of the season will earn playing rights on the premier Asian Tour for the 2019 season.

Ends.

Leading Round Two scores:

123 - Varanyu RATTANAPHIBOONKIJ (THA) 62 61
130 - Nitithorn THIPPONG (THA) 64 66
131 - Oscar ZETTERWALL (SWE) 64 67
133 - Samarth DWIVEDI (IND) 65 68, Mathiam KEYSER (RSA) 66 67
135 - Worrasorn SUWANPANANG (THA) 68 67, Donlaphatchai NIYOMCHON (THA) 68 67, Simon YATES (SCO) 67 68, Chaiphat KOONMARK (THA) 70 65, Pawin INGKHAPRADIT (THA) 66 69

About Laguna Golf Phuket

Laguna Golf Phuket is an 18-hole, par 71 golf course situated in the heart of Asia’s first integrated resort – Laguna Phuket, conveniently accessible by complimentary shuttle service from the surrounding hotels. Thoroughly redesigned and reopened in 2015, the new landscaping with great emphasis on natural surroundings and wildlife provides golfers a whole new golfing experience. During the game, a tranquil journey into the native cultural experience with infused local elements creates a unique sense of place. The Thai villa design clubhouse offers a host of luxury facilities, including a well-stocked Pro Shop and international dining option. The course also features Southeast Asia’s first PGA-branded golf academy, offering a holistic learning experience by PGA instructors with a wide range of teaching packages, and extensive practice facilities including dedicated swing rooms with Trackman video analysis, as well as a purpose-built fitness studio with private sessions designed to improve your performance on the course.

About Asian Development Tour

The Asian Development Tour was launched in 2010 with the aim of creating a career pathway for professional golfers in Asia. Sanctioned by the Asian Tour, the Asian Development Tour will ultimately create a new playing platform for emerging stars from across Asia and around the world. Through the Asian Tour Qualifying School, players will qualify for the Asian Development Tour and enjoy the opportunity to hone their games and talent through a secondary circuit in Asia. Designed in the same structure as the Web.com Tour in America and European Challenge Tour, the Asian Development Tour is a stepping stone to the Asian Tour and the exciting world of international golf. The Asian Development Tour has been structured to ensure the best opportunities for its members. The leading five players on the Asian Development Tour will earn coveted Asian Tour cards for the following season, ensuring a proper career pathway for aspiring professionals. All ADT events receive Official World Golf Ranking points.