Modest start by Himmat Rai, Ajeetesh Sandhu at Myanmar Open

Himmat Rai carded 2-under 70 to be placed at tied 42nd after first round on Myanmar Open.

Updated: February 21, 2013 20:39 IST
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Yangon: Himmat Rai and Ajeetesh Sandhu were the best among Indians with cards of two-under 70 but that was only good enough for tied 42nd place as the Zaykabar Myanmar Open got underway on Thursday.

Rahil Gangjee, Sujjan Singh and Vinod Kumar opened with one-under 71 each in tied 64th place, while Shankar Das carded 72 and Chiragh Kumar (76) was in danger of missing the cut unless he brings home a very low card in the second round.

Thai duo Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Chapchai Nirat went deep with eight-under 64 each and shared the lead on the opening day of the historic 10th season of the Asian Tour.

Kiradech fuelled his hopes of erasing last year's play-off defeat at the same event with an excellent round at the Royal Mingalardon Golf and Country Club. The two were one shot over countryman Prom Meesawat, who is searching for a long-awaited second Asian Tour victory and Joonas Granberg of Finland.

Thanyakon Khrongpha added to the Thai domination by sharing fifth place with Australia's Darren Beck and Koreans' Hwang In-choon and Young Nam at the USD 300,000 event which is the curtain raiser for the 10th Asian Tour season.

Reigning Asian Tour number one, Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand, who had the honour to hit the first drive to commemorate the occasion, settled for 71 together with title holder Kieran Pratt of Australia.

The big-hitting Kiradech was six-under through eight holes but his confidence took a dent when he missed a 10-foot birdie putt on the 10th hole. He gradually recovered and took advantage of the par fives where he birdied 14 and 18. The man nicknamed 'Asia's John Daly' for his rip-it and grip-it style of play, believes he has grown into a better player.

The tenacious Chapchai was even-par after five holes but recovered with eight birdies in his last 13 holes to share the lead. He holds the world 72-hole scoring record with a stunning 32-under-par 256 winning total in India in 2009 but has yet to win since then.

"My putting was very good. Last year, I struggled with my putter. Usually when you start the first tournament, you feel a bit uneasy but it was different today. Putting is very important for me. If I can putt well, I will feel confident," said Chapchai, who welcomed his new born son 'Jedi' to his family last year.

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