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Golf | Asia

Chapchai Nirat © Gallo Images

Thai duo share lead in Myanmar



Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat bolstered his hopes of erasing last year's play-off defeat at the Zaykabar Myanmar Open on Thursday when he tied for the opening-round lead with compatriot Chapchai Nirat.

The pair, who finished on eight-under-par 64, are one shot ahead of fellow countryman Prom Meesawat, who is seeking a long-awaited second Asian Tour victory, and Joonas Granberg of Finland.

Another Thai, Thanyakon Khrongpha, shared fifth place with Australia's Darren Beck and South Koreans Hwang In-choon and Young Nam at the $300 000 event, the curtain-raiser for the 10th Asian Tour season.

Reigning Asian Tour No 1 Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand, who hit the first drive to mark the occasion, was on 71 along with title holder Kieran Pratt of Australia.

Kiradech was six-under through eight holes but his confidence took a jolt 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.

"I missed a big putt on the 10th hole," said Kiradech, in comments supplied by the organisers.

"I had a 10 feet uphill straight putt but I pulled it. After that I lost some confidence with the putter. I was lucky to get two birdies in the next par fives."

Chapchai was even-par after five holes but recovered with eight birdies in his last 13 holes to share the lead.

LEADING SCORES:

64 - Chapchai Nirat (THA), Kiradech Aphibarnrat (THA)

65 - Joonas Granberg (FIN), Prom Meesawat (THA)

66 - Thanyakon Khrongpha (THA), Hwang In-Choon (KOR), Young Nam (KOR), Darren Beck (AUS)

67 - Mardan Mamat (SIN), Choo Tze-huang (SIN), Chawalit Plaphol (THA), Antonio Lascuna (PHI), Hung Chien-yao (TPE), Chan Shih-chang (TPE), Sam Brazel (AUS), Carlos Pigem (ESP), Hu Mu (CHN), Rikard Karlberg (SWE), Baek Seuk-Hyun (KOR), Gunn Charoenkul (THA), Lionel Weber (FRA)

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