Shahriffuddin Ariffin, Thitipan Pachuayprakong and Ryoto Furuya helped Restore a little Asian Development Tour (ADT) pride as the ‘Beautiful Thailand Swing’ (BTS) marched quickstep into the second of its four quickfire events today.
Rounds of 64, six-under, earned the Malaysian, Thai and Japanese-American a share of the first round lead at the $ 75,000 Laguna Phuket Cup, just two days after Englishman Tom Sloman secured the co-sanctioning MENA Tour first blood at the BTS by capturing the Laguna Phuket Challenge.
Dubai based Josh Grenville-Wood shot a first round three birdie 69 to lie in tied 36th place.
The trio lead by a stroke from Chilean MENA Tour member Matias Calderon and Fijian ADT player Sam Lee who was released from Quarantine isolation after a positive COVID-19 test on the morning of the BTS opener just five days ago.
Lee Somehow managed to finish tied 21st at the Laguna Phuket Challenge despite not knowing the course and going in with zero practice. He’s clearly benefited from his four circuits of Laguna Golf Phuket since with his opening 65 on Sunday including eight birdies, just like his practice round Yesterday.
For all that, Lee and co. are still all looking up to Ariffin, Pachuayprakong and Furuya who finished tied 13th, tied 51st and tied 17th respectively in the Laguna Phuket Challenge.
“My start was not so good, par, birdie and a bogey but then I tried to focus more on playing on the Fairway and my putting and I also chipped in twice, on hole one and hole four,” Ariffin said.
Thithiphun is remembered for playing in the final group alongside eventual Champion Lee Westwood at the 2011 Indonesian Masters. The Thai eventually finished third and went on to Capture his maiden Asian Tour title, the 2016 Bashundhara Bangladesh Open, before qualifying for the US Open later that year where they missed the cut after carding rounds of 73 and 79 at Oakmont.
Furuya is a product of the University of South Florida. After 10 years in the US, he’s now living back in Japan closer to his family and the Lure of a full Asian Tour card.
“It could have been a lot better,” Furuya said of his seven under total in the Laguna Phuket Challenge. “I had a couple of double bogeys out there and I made sure I wasn’t going to make the same mistakes today.”
Like Ariffin, Furuya now has four rounds in the 60s to his name and the confidence Collegiate golf Grants now graduates.
Last week’s Winner Sloman, Meanwhile, signed for a one-under 69, the same score as his nearest Rival in the MENA Tour’s ‘2020+ Journey to Jordan’ Order of Merit Standings, England’s David Langley.