Greater Noida: Thailand's Chinnarat Phadungsil made the most of his luck to storm to a big lead in the opening round of the 1.8m euro Avantha Masters at the Jaypee Greens Golf Resort here on Thursday.
Chinnarat started his round in the second half when the wind had slowed down to a great extent and the 25-year-old made sure he didn't lose the advantage good luck gave him. He looked in control from the first hole itself, but it was the back nine that made him tower over others. The sturdy golfer picked up seven birdies on the trot before parring his 17th hole. After that little halt, he regained his composure to finish the round on a high with another birdie taking his total to 11-under 61.
At a course where many believe scoring is easy, the Indian golfers failed to leave a deep impression, with the exception of 2012 Rolex Rookie Golfer of the Year Abhijit Singh Chadha who shot a 6-under 66 to take the second spot. Chadha, who was joint second with Nirat Chapchai, Chawalit Plaphol, Magnus Carlsson and Liang Wenchong, had the misfortune of starting early in the morning with a powerful wind slapping across the course.
Among notable Indians, 2011 Avantha champion SSP Chowrasia, Anirban Lahiri and Gaganjeet Singh Bhullar shot a 68 each to tie for 15th, while Challenge Tour Gujarat Kensville winner Shiv Kapur had a bad day at the office and could only manage an even-par 72. Jeev Milkha Singh and Rahil Gangjee shot a 69 each to share the 30th spot.
Phadungsil, who led Chadha and the others by five strokes, said he was surprised with the way his round had panned out. "It's unbelievable. Everything worked for me today. From putting to finding fairways, everything worked for me," the leader said after his round.
Asked what actually brought about his top-class stuff, he said, "Actually nothing. It's just that everything fell into place for me. During my second half, the wind became very gentle and that helped me a great deal. If I can get a five-under tomorrow, I will be very pleased with myself. I have to make sure that I don't lose the momentum. I hope the next three days turn out to be good as well."
Chadha, who knows the course inside out, was also pleased with his performance. "I played really well today. I made a lot of putts and hit the ball pretty decently. I didn't start off that well. I left myself about 15-20 feet on two holes for par. I made them and got my confidence going," he said.
"I hit it long, so this course suits my game. My average driving distance is 300 yards and with my new driver I've been smoking it and hitting it even further. The conditions were quite tough in the morning with the swirling wind, so I'm all the more pleased with my six-under," he added.