Peter Lawrie has given himself every chance of ending his miserable run of form on the European Tour after shooting a four-under par round of 68 on the first day of The Championship in Singapore.
The Dubliner has missed 11 consecutive cuts on the circuit, but was able to take advantage of a soft and short Laguna National course to fire his first sub-70 round of the season and claim a share of 27th place.
On a low scoring day, where heavy rain and a lightning threat delayed the start of play and led to preferred lies being employed, Thailand’s Panuphol Pittayarat holds the lead following a nine-under total of 63. With preferred lies in play, the world number 451’s bogey-free round would not count as a new course record but that was of little concern to the 21-year-old after a sparkling performance featuring only 22 putts.
"I was very happy with how I played. I didn't see it coming," Panuphol said afterwards. Panuphol missed the cut in each of his three events on the Asian Tour this year but his birdie-blitz was enough to earn a one-shot lead over Scotland's Scott Jamieson, American David Lipsky and South Korea's Kim Byung-jun.
The event was due to be hosted in the homeland of Kim, the joint worst ranked player in the field at 1,529 in the world, but the European and Asian Tour announced the switch of venues to Singapore last month after “staging issues”.
Singaporean Quincy Quek, playing the course the wrong way around, finished with two birdies to join the group at eight-under as a number of Asian Tour players made a strong start to the event lacking Europe's elite.
Another Thai, Arnond Vongvanij, briefly threatened golf’s golden number of 59 before settling for a 65. Arnond opened his round with four birdies as he reached the turn in 30.
He added further birdies to reach eight-under after 11 holes only for a double-bogey five at his penultimate hole dumped him down into a share of seventh under fading light.
Defending champion Brett Rumford was well down the field after carding a two-under 70, a score matched by last week's China Open winner Alexander Levy.
With 85 players in the field under par, Damien McGrane, Gareth Maybin (both one-under) and Simon Thornton (level par) are by no means certain of making the weekend after their first rounds and will be hoping to improve tomorrow.