The 23-year-old Nattawat opened up a one-shot lead with his bogey-free round highlighted by six birdies and one eagle at the B2 million (approximately US$63,860) event co-sanctioned by the All Thailand Golf Tour (ATGT).
Indonesia’s Danny Masrin and Thailand’s Nitithorn Thippong trail a shot behind in second place following matching 63s while Tirawat Kaewsiribandit carded a 64 to take fourth place at the award-winning Laguna Golf Phuket.
Defending champion Varanyu Rattanaphiboonkij of Thailand posted a 70 to lurk eight shots off the pace in tied-55th.
Nattawat, who claimed his maiden Asian Development Tour (ADT) title in Malaysia in 2017, rode on a hot putter to navigate around the greens in only 24 putts.
“I putted really well today and made a lot of long putts. I started off well with birdies on holes two and three which gave me a lot of confidence and I made a 20-foot putt for birdie on hole 17,” said the Thai,
He notched birdies on holes two, three, seven and 13 before striking his five-wood to four feet on hole 14 and rolling in his putt for eagle.
“On hole 14, I hit a really great shot from the rough on the left side of the fairway. It landed four feet from the pin and I made an eagle. Overall, I am happy with my round today,” added the Thai, who grabbed two more birdies on his way home.
Starting from the 11th tee, Masrin had a slow start with eight consecutive pars before finding some momentum in the back nine to mark his card with five birdies and an eagle.
“I was scrambling on the first eight holes and couldn’t get the speed of the greens right, then I made the turn and made three straight birdies to get some momentum going.
“I started to get the feel of the greens on the back nine and made some good putts. On hole seven I hit a great shot from 210 yards to the green and then a 15-footer for eagle. It was a pretty good day and I just have to keep with the speed of the greens for the next three rounds,” said the 26-year-old Indonesian, who is chasing his maiden ADT victory this week.
The Singha Laguna Phuket Open is the Tour’s third stop in Thailand this season and is celebrating its third straight edition on the ADT this year.
Leading first round scores:
62 – Nattawat Suvajanakorn
63 – Danny Masrin , Nitithorn Thippong
64 – Tirawat Kaewsiribandit
65 – Piya Swangarunporn , Kammalas Namuangruk , Miguel Carballo , Joohyung Kim , Kosuke Hamamoto
For full results, click here.
The Asian Development Tour was launched in 2010 with the aim of creating a career pathway for professional golfers in Asia. Sanctioned by the Asian Tour, the Asian Development Tour will ultimately create a new playing platform for emerging stars from across Asia and around the world.
Through the Asian Tour Qualifying School, players qualify for the Asian Development Tour and enjoy the opportunity to hone their games and talent through a secondary circuit in Asia. Designed in the same structure as the Web.com Tour in America and European Challenge Tour, the Asian Development Tour is a stepping stone to the Asian Tour and the world of international golf.
The leading seven players on the Asian Development Tour will earn coveted Asian Tour cards for the following season, ensuring a proper career pathway for aspiring professionals.
All ADT events receive Official World Golf Ranking points. The winner of each ADT event will receive at least six OWGR points while the top six players and ties will also earn points based on a sliding scale.