AUTHOR

OBGOLF

09 November 2018

Flawless Varanyu Sets Early Pace At The Combiphar Players Championship

Bali, Indonesia, November 6: Thailand’s Varanyu Rattanaphiboonkij stood tall amidst windy conditions by carding a bogey-free five-under-par 67 to grab a two-shot lead following the opening round of the Combiphar Players Championship on Tuesday.

The 21-year-old Varanyu, who claimed his maiden Asian Development Tour (ADT) victory on his home course in Phuket earlier in May, highlighted his flawless card with one eagle and three birdies to sit atop the leaderboard at the US$100,000 event.

Singapore’s Quincy Quek and American Blake Snyder were amongst the five players bunched in second place following matching rounds of 69s while defending champion Wolmer Murillo of Venezuela posted a 70 to trail by three shots in tied-seventh position.

Thailand’s Nitithorn Thippong, who is vying to overtake leader Miguel Carballo on the ADT Order of Merit with a strong showing this week, battled to a 74 to tie in 54th place at the New Kuta Golf in Bali.

Placed second on the money list, Nitithorn is the highest-ranked player in the 118-man field gathered for the third edition of the Combiphar Players Championship, which is the 21st leg of the 2018 ADT schedule.

Starting from the first, Varanyu reeled in four straight pars before nailing two consecutive birdies from the fifth. He sank a 10-footer for eagle on the par-five ninth after hitting a six-iron from 246 yards from the left of the fairway. The talented Thai would gain another shot on the 14 to open up a two-shot lead at the popular event.

“I didn’t hit the ball good today but I got pretty lucky with my bad shots. On the par-four fifth, I actually hit it to behind a tree but I got lucky with my second shot as it rolled to within 10 feet of the pin and I made that putt for my first birdie of the day,” said Varanyu, who turned professional in 2015.

“On the par-three sixth, I hit a seven-iron to about 50 feet left and made a long putt there for birdie as well. I went on to make another birdie on the par-four 14 after hitting a driver off the tee to the right of the fairway which landed in front of a tree.

“Had about 113 yards to the pin from there, hit my 60 degree and got lucky again as the ball rolled to about seven feet and I made the birdie putt. Overall, my putting was pretty good today. It’s my first time playing on this course which is pretty hard so I’m happy with the way I played,” added Varanyu.

Being one of the richest events on the ADT this season, the Combiphar Players Championship will be crucial in the race for the Order of Merit title, as well as the seven coveted 2019 Asian Tour cards on offer.

The Combiphar Players Championship marks the Tour’s third and last stop in Indonesia this season. It is also the penultimate event of the 2018 ADT season which will culminate with the PGM Maybank Championship in Malaysia at the end of the month.

All ADT events offer Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points. The winner will receive six OWGR points while the top six players and ties will also earn points based on a sliding scale.

Leading round one scores:

67 - Varanyu Rattanaphiboonkij (THA) 

69 - Shinichi Mizuno (JPN), Blake Snyder (USA) , Ratchapol Jantavara (THA) , Quincy Quek (SGP) , Kazuki Higa (JPN) 

70 - Jaturon Duangphaichoom (THA) , Pawin Ingkhapradit (THA) , Wolmer Murillo (VEN) , Gregory Foo (SGP) , Puk Pradittan (THA) 

71 - Thitipat Phatam (THA) , Jesse Yap (SGP) , Janne Kaske (FIN) , Poosit Supupramai (THA) , Yutaka Araki (JPN) , Kwanchai Tannin (THA) , Philip Matsson (THA) , Nirun Sae-Ueng (THA) , Samarth Dwivedi (IND) , Shahriffuddin Ariffin (MAS) , Itthipat Buranatanyarat (THA) , Donlaphatchai Niyomchon (THA) , Chinnarat Phadungsil (THA) 

72 - Arie Irawan (MAS) , Javier Gallegos (ESP) , Mathiam Keyser (RSA) , Rinaldi Adiyandono (INA) , Tarik Can (USA) , Erwan Vieilledent (FRA) , Brandon Lau (MAS) , Jesse Schutte (USA) , Airil Zahari (MAS) , Mohd Amli Mohiyadeen (MAS) , Johnson Poh (SGP) , Josh Salah (USA) , John Michael O'Toole (USA) , Hanbo Lee (RSA) , Phanuvich Onchu (THA) 

73 - Naoki Sekito (JPN) , Thepbodin Amaranan (THA) , Justin De Los Santos (USA) , Bradley Taslim (INA) , Danny Masrin (INA) , Ekthumrong Luanganuruk (THA) , David Gleeson (AUS) , Jakraphan Premsirigorn (THA) , Abdul Hadi (SGP) , Thammanoon Sriroj (THA) , Panuwat Muenlek (THA) , Rory Hie (INA) , Suttijet Kooratanapisan (THA) , Joshua Andrew Wirawan (INA) , Marc Ong (SGP) 

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