Pattaya, Thailand, April 7: Bengaluru golfer S Chikkarangappa, looking for his maiden success on the Asian tour, opened with a solid 3-under 69 and was the best Indian at T-21 in the inaugural Trust Golf Asian Mixed Cup. Also shooting a 3-under 69 was Viraj Madappa, a fellow Bengalurean, who has one Asian Tour win to his name.
The US$750,000 tournament marks the first time the Asian Tour have staged a mixed event, as it is being jointly sanctioned with the Ladies European Tour.
There are eight men and two women, Diksha Dagar (70) at T-36 and Tvesa Malik at T-72.
The other men players are Aman Raj (70) in T-36, Rashid Khan, Shiv Kapur and SSP Chawrasia, all at T-52 with cards of 71 each.
Ajeetesh Sandhu (72) was T-77 and Gaganjeet Bhullar (74) was T-116 and
Thailand’s Ratchanon “TK” Chantananuwat, the 15-year-old amateur, who could not practice much last week because he was busy with his studies, shot a nine-under-par 63 to take a share of the lead in the inaugural Trust Golf Asian Mixed Cup.
His round was matched by Finland’s Sanna Nuutinen, a member of the Ladies European Tour (LET), on the Waterside Course at Siam Country Club, while Thailand’s Phachara Khongwatmai and Hung Chien-yao from Chinese-Taipei carded 65s.
Ratchanon has now shot two 63s in his last three rounds on the Asian Tour, the first one coming in the third round of the International Series Thailand at Black Mountain Golf Club last month.
Nuutinen’s mightily impressive round was built upon an incredible first nine eight-under-par 28, consisting of eight birdies and a par on five. A birdie on 10 suggested a phenomenal score was on the cards but the birdies dried up and she dropped a shot on 17 before making a birdie on 18 to catch Ratchanon, who was playing in the group ahead.
The 30-year-old Nuutinen, who has won three times on the LET Access Series.
Thailand’s Chanettee Wannasaen and Meghan Maclaren from England are in fifth after firing 66s.