Natthapong goes low for Rahman Putra lead


  • Golf
  • Wednesday, 18 Mar 2015

PETALING JAYA: He’s ranked 1,548th in the world. Yet, that didn’t stop Natthapong Niyomchon from outshining his more illustrious rivals for the first-round lead at the RM200,000 Asian Development Tour (ADT) co-sanctioned PGM CCM Rahman Putra Championship.

Natthapong belied his lowly status to card a sublime six-under 66 at the Kelab Rahman Putra Malaysia in Sungai Buloh on Wednesday en route to topping the leaderboard by one shot.

Staying close on his heels are Singapore’s Quincy Quek and Scotland’s James Bryne, who are both former ADT winners, as well as Indonesia’s Jordan Irawan and Australia’s Jordan Sherratt.

One-time Asian Tour winner Danny Chia was the best-placed Malaysian in a congested joint sixth placing, which also includes Thais Settee Prakongvech, Atthaphon Sriboonkaew, Sutijet Kooratanapisan and Thammanoon Sriroj, as well as England’s Christopher Cannon and defending champion Brett Munson of the United States on four-under 68.

Natthapong, who finished joint eighth at the PGM Northport Glenmarie last May for his best international result to date, mixed his card with seven birdies against one bogey.

The 26-year-old was on a roll, thanks to his hot putter – making 27 putts, including two important birdie putts from inside 15 feet on the 12th and 13th holes.

Natthapong, who has had little success since turning professional in 2005, was delighted to be in pole position and fight for a first-ever career title.

“My putting was good and the two big birdie putts helped,” said Natthapong, who finished joint 22nd here last year.

“I like this course because I can hit long drives and I feel comfortable reading the lines on the greens. It’s going to be exciting because I haven’t won before.”

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