Flu-hit Thai teen takes golf lead in Malaysia
21 Jul 2011 - 14:30:10
Thai teenager Panuphol Pittayarat ignored the flu to snatch a surprise one-shot halfway lead at the Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters after an impressive seven-under-par 65 on Thursday.
The pint-sized young Thai broke away from a bunched leaderboard at Kota Permai Golf and Country Club in Malaysia with a seven-birdie round.
Overnight leader Joonas Granberg of Finland stumbled to a 75 in the Asian Tour event to lie tied second with Australian Marcus Both (67) and two other upcoming Thais, Panuwat Muenlek (69) and Namchok Tantipokhakul (67).
Panuphol, who leads on eight-under-par 136, was delighted to top the leaderboard after feeling unwell.
"It was a lucky round. I was struggling with the flu and a sore throat but I still managed to put in a good round," said the bespectacled teen, who turned professional at the tender age of 14.
"I've been feeling down because I've been playing bad lately and I know I can play well. I really pushed myself last week and put in another extra 100 percent in my training and fitness. I'm happy it paid off.
"There are many good players within reach and I have to do my best and try not to put too much pressure on myself. My goal is to finish in the top 10 and I will be more than happy to take that result."
Both was also bogey-free as he kept up his bid for a third Asian Tour victory, but lamented missed opportunities on the tricky and slick Kota Permai greens.
"That was nice. I played pretty solid and left a bunch out there. I gave myself a lot of opportunities on the greens but they are pretty tricky to read," the Australian said.
"At the minute my game isn't that great. I've done some work with my coach and he is here this week.
"I spent a little bit of time on the range with him before I went out today. I haven't changed anything major, just bits and pieces."
Former Asian Tour number one Jyoti Randhawa of India battled to a 71 to remain within two shots of Panuphol, with amongst others, back-in-form Malaysian Airil Rizman (67), Bangladeshi Siddikur (70), who is second on the Order of Merit, South Korea's Young Nam (69) and Taiwan's Chang Tse-peng (66).