Golf: Catlin leads as Asian Tour tees off after Covid break

America’s John Catlin took a one-shot clubhouse lead within the Blue Canyon Phuket Championship Thursday as golf’s Asian Tour returned after a 20-month break imposed by the pandemic.

Eagles on the par 5 ninth and 15th holes helped the four-time tour winner to a primary spherical 65, seven underneath par, a shot forward of Taiwan’s Chan Shih-chang and Ian Snyman.

The $1 million match on the idyllic vacation island of Phuket noticed the primary pictures performed on the Tour for the reason that Malaysian Open in March 2020.

There was disappointment for house star Phachara Khongwatmai as a bogey on the final left him 5 underneath par, a shot off a share of second place.

Present order of advantage chief Wade Ormsby of Australia was one among 14 gamers to complete on 69, 4 pictures off Catlin, who got here to Phuket off the again of a high 10 end within the $9 million DP World Tour Championship in Dubai on Sunday.

The Blue Canyon occasion comes simply weeks after Australian legend Greg Norman shook up the world of golf by asserting his new collection of 10 occasions from 2022, backed by $200 million of Saudi cash.

World quantity 123 Catlin has been in tremendous type lately, claiming three European Tour wins along with his Asian titles.

“I made a couple of lengthy ones, I simply occurred to play good. And I took benefit of the par fives,” the 31-year-old stated.

He sealed his eagle on the ninth with a 30-foot (10-metre) putt, and hit a 3 wooden to 9 toes to arrange his second on the 15th.

Catlin had beforehand based mostly himself within the Thai seaside resort of Hua Hin and stated the familiarity paid off for him.

“Final time I used to be right here was in Might 2020. Feels nice, like I’ve been saying for the previous 4 years, it looks like a second house,” he added.

Chan additionally got here to Phuket on a sizzling streak, bagging 4 wins on his nation’s home circuit.

“It’s been so lengthy since we final got here out to play. I’m actually excited this week. I’ve been enjoying nicely again house and the competitions have stored my recreation in form,” stated Chan, who gained twice on the Asian Tour in 2016.

 

Main scores after the primary spherical of the Blue Canyon Phuket Championship (par 72):

65 – John Catlin (USA)

66 – Chan Shih-chang (TPE), Ian Snyman (RSA)

67 – Phachara Khongwatmai (THA)

68 – Shiv Kapur (IND), Paul Peterson (USA), Sadom Kaewkanjana (THA), S Chikkarangappa (IND), Sihwan Kim (USA)

69 – Scott Hend (AUS), Mathiam Keyser (RSA), Honey Baisoya (IND), Karandeep Kochhar (IND), Ben Leong (MAS), Dodge Kemmer (USA), Justin Quiban (PHI), Danthai Boonma (THA), Viraj Madappa (IND), Wade Ormsby (AUS), Joohyung Kim (KOR), Bjorn Hellgren (SWE), Raththee Sirithanakunsak (THA)

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