Kiradech shares opening lead with Masrin at Richard Mille Brunei Championships

Wed 07 Mar 2018

Kiradech shares opening lead with Masrin at Richard Mille Brunei Championships


Bandar Seri Begawan, March 7: Thai star Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Danny Masrin of Indonesia overcame their fatigue from long-haul flights to share the opening lead with matching six-under-par 65s at the Richard Mille Brunei Championships on Wednesday.

Kiradech, Asian Tour’s number one in 2013, arrived in Brunei on Tuesday evening after flying from Mexico, where he capped a superb tied-fifth finish at the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship on Sunday.

Masrin, on the other hand, flew in to the Sultanate for the US$60,000 Asian Development Tour (ADT) event on Monday night, after travelling from New Zealand where he played the Asian Tour’s ISPS HANDA New Zealand Open on a sponsor invite.

The 28-year-old Kiradech, highest-ranked Thai in 36th on the latest Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR), returned with a flawless card highlighted by six birdies to sit atop the leaderboard alongside Masrin, who fired seven birdies against a bogey.

The duo hold a one-shot lead over American John Catlin, Masahiro Kawamura of Japan and Erwan Vieilledent of France at the impressive Empire Golf and Country Club, which is a former venue on the Asian Tour.

Kiradech, who claimed his third Asian Tour victory in Australia last month, played with a set of new clubs, prepared specially by his sponsor but identical to what he has, to cruise to the top of the leaderboard.

“I knew my clubs were unlikely to arrive on time and I did not want to risk it for the tournament so my sponsor brought it over for me. They have the specs of my own clubs so I did not feel much of a difference,” said Kiradech.

“It’s always good to start a tournament with a low score of six under par. I think I am just a little bit tired, having to play in such humid conditions which didn’t make it any easier. I slept at midnight and woke up at 1.30am and again at 4.30am.

“I am not surprised that I did not get a good night’s sleep but I am used to this lifestyle where I have to travel so much. I will try and get more rest tonight because my body feels very tired,” added Kiradech, also a two-time winner on the region’s secondary circuit.

The 25-year-old Masrin, who has been honing his skills on the ADT since 2013, had to work around the late arrival of his golf bag but was thankful that he managed to borrow a set for his practice round on Tuesday.

“It’s never comfortable playing with a different set of clubs on the practice round but I was lucky to get a set of clubs to practice with yesterday. The airline said my golf bag would arrive at 2.30am so I was lucky that it got in on time this morning,” said Masrin.

“This course makes me feel like I’m in Bali, especially with the ocean views that we see from the tee boxes. They say this is the best golf course in Brunei and I can believe it. My caddy held me back on playing too aggressive today which worked out well.

“We had a great game plan going into the round. Obviously, the wind was a little different from what it was in the practice round so we had to adjust a little bit. I played smart golf in the first couple of holes which paid off. I was able to build up momentum into the back nine,” Masrin added.

Catlin, a two-time winner on the ADT, reaped the rewards from having a new putter in his bag, which helped him nail five birdies for a bogey-free round of 67.

“I got a new putter last week in New Zealand and I putted great with it today. I hit the ball pretty solid and gave myself short birdie putts. I chipped well too and that gave me a lot of confidence as I knew that I could get up and down from anywhere,” said Catlin.

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Leading first round scores:

65 - Kiradech APHIBARNRAT (THA) , Danny MASRIN (INA)

66 - John CATLIN (USA) , Masahiro KAWAMURA (JPN) , Erwan VIEILLEDENT (FRA)

67 - Steve LEWTON (ENG) , Thanpisit OMSIN (THA) , Lee SONG (KOR)


69 - Shohei HASEGAWA (JPN) , Ye Htet AUNG (MYN) , Poom PATTAROPONG (THA)

70 - Junya KAMESHIRO (JPN) , KOH Deng Shan (SGP) , Kasidit LEPKURTE (THA) , Miguel CARBALLO (ARG) , Nattawat SUVAJANAKORN (THA) , Sangpil YOON (KOR) , Oskar ARVIDSSON (SWE) , CHOO Tze Huang (SGP) , Philip MATSSON (THA) , Joshua Andrew WIRAWAN (INA)


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 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.