Atiwit moves ahead in Pattaya

Pattaya, Thailand; May 6: Thai teen sensation Atiwit Janewattananond jumped to the top of the leaderboard at the Singha Pattaya Open with a closing birdie on Friday morning.

Fifteen-year-old Atiwit carded a six-under-par 66 for a one stroke lead over countrymen Kwanchai Tannin and Thammanoon Sriroj in the season-opening event on the ASEAN PGA Tour at Burapha Golf Club.

Veteran Thai Prayad Marksaeng and American Corey Harris both shot 68 on Thursday and are a further shot behind. Atiwit had one hole to play when darkness halted play on Thursday and he returned on Friday to complete his first round with a birdie at the par-five 18th. “I had already driven on Thursday when play was stopped and I was happy to come back this morning and get the birdie,” said Atiwit.

The youngster is making fast strides in the game and wrote his name in the history books by becoming the youngest player at 14 years and 71 days to make the cut in a regional event, last year’s Asian Tour International.
He also played in the 2010 Thailand Open on OneAsia at Burapha Golf Club.
“I find this course a bit long,” admitted the slightly built Atiwit, who is nicknamed “Jazz”. “But I putted really well yesterday – I holed everything.
“It’s great to be leading but there is a long way to go. I am striking the ball well and hopefully I can keep it going.”

Thammanoon was disappointed not to pick up a shot in the two holes he played on Friday morning and finished tied with Kwanchai who completed his round on Thursday. A thunderstorm forced play to be suspended for two hours and 20 minutes on Thursday and half the field completed their first rounds on Friday morning.

The US$50,000 Singha Pattaya Open raises the curtain on the fifth season of the ASEAN PGA Tour with the 2011 schedule featuring an exciting blend of established and new events. The region’s top professionals will have the opportunity to play for US$685,000, which is over US$100,000 more than last year, and compete in nine tournaments.