Sihwan Kim ahead at Stableford Challenge affected by weather

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The American, who won The International Series Thailand last month, clocked a 10-under par 62 first round at the Waterside Course at Siam Country Club in what is the Asian Tour’s first Modified Stableford scoring event.

The US$750,000 tournament is also co-sanctioned with the Ladies European Tour.

The horn to stop play for the day sounded as Kim made his closing putt, on a long day disrupted by a two-hour weather delay in the morning.

“It was one of those rounds where you just look at a putt and it goes in,” Kim said, buzzing after also birdieing on 15, 16 and 17 before arriving in the stands.

“I didn’t really hit that well off the start, I probably hit two fairways on the back nine today, but I was down to seven under so I just don’t know.

“I didn’t know what the line was, it was too dark to see it. I just knew it was kinda tight at the end and the horn didn’t really matter because I would have been happy to make two putts in the dark so I just hit it and it just started following and it went in.

It was all smiles after another successful outing on the Asian tour for Joohyung Kim. PHOTO: Provided.

Korea’s Joohyung Kim, the defending Asian Tour Order of Merit champion, is second with 15 points, alongside Chinese Taipei’s Hung Chien-yao, India’s Viraj Madappa and Indonesia’s Rory Hey.

Thailand’s Ratchanon “TK” Chantananuwat, who won the Trust Golf Asian Mixed Cup last week at the same venue, was paired with Sihwan and scored seven points.

“It was a good start, but it wasn’t great to be honest. I was an over after five holes (I started on the back nine) but I had a good birdie on 15, a good birdie on 18, so that helped things along,” Joohyung said. Kim, 19 years old.

“I had a really good putt on one, a really good putt on two. I just kept up the pace. We had a long rain delay and after that I had a five footer for a birdie and I was worried, but once I figured that out I kind of got started. I don’t think I had a par on my back nine. A few mild bogeys on my new back but got them back.

“It was one of those rounds where you just look at a putt and it goes in.” – Sihwan Kim.

The two-time Asian Tour winner shot 66-under with nine birdies and three bogeys; he birdied six in a row from 18 to 5.

“It’s my longest birdie streak in a tournament. I didn’t really realize I was on that streak and when I did, I bogeyed,” he said. “It’s interesting to play stableford, it’s very, very different from playing normal. You have to birdie a lot in that format. I think instead of playing in a different format, you keep playing normal and you focus on what I did.

Hung shot a 65 in the first round last week, before finishing tied for 30th, and did the same today after birding eight times and a bogey.

“Last week we played the same course, and I did very well on the first day as well,” said Hung, a former winner of the Asian Development Tour.

“I didn’t play a practice round here on Monday and Tuesday and just do the same thing every round. The point system is a bit different, I’ve never played this system before and this is our first time playing checkers and it’s actually quite fun so we see another side of the game, they can hit very far.

“So I had fun last week and this week so I’m happy with my round today. I just play like it’s a normal round and I had a 65 so that’s great.

Six-time Asian Tour winner and 2019 Merit List champion Jazz Janewattananond of Thailand scored 12 points, indicating his gradual return to form.

A total of 39 players will complete their rounds at 6:40 a.m. local time Thursday morning.

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