Carnoustie, Scotland, July 19: Thai star Kiradech Aphibarnrat endured a day of mixed emotions as he signed for an opening three-over-par 74 at The 147th Open at Carnoustie on Thursday.
The 28-year-old Thai, who was crowned the Asian Tour number one in 2013, fired two birdies against a double-bogey to turn in level par. He dropped four shots in his next seven holes but gained an unexpected birdie on 17 after his pitch from 80 yards found the bottom of the cup.
“Definitely not a good start to the week, shooting three-over in the opening round,” said Kiradech. “I had a good start today, birdied the first and missed by a little bit for birdie on the second. I just miscalculated that shot which landed in the bunker, resulting in a double-bogey unfortunately.”
“Managed to turn in level par but I can only say there are too many bunkers on the back-nine. (laughs). I made a good comeback on the 17. It was a great shot. It was good to finish with that birdie coming back,” added Kiradech, a three-time Asian Tour winner and a four-time European Tour champion.
Kiradech, who played alongside defending champion Jordan Spieth and world number three Justin Rose, lamented his poor ball-striking where he found only four fairways but kept up his hopes of making a comeback on Friday.
“I was just trying to stay consistent out there. I hope I can continue to do that tomorrow, keep the ball in play and just get it low tomorrow. It was good fun out there with Justin (Rose) and Jordan (Spieth). All of us weren’t having a good day out there. Justin and I weren’t striking the ball well but I am sure we will go out there and gain it back tomorrow,” he said.
Fellow compatriot and Major debutant Jazz Janewattananond matched the efforts of Kiradech after marking his card with four birdies against a double-bogey and five bogeys.
“It was a long round today. I started off alright but it got quite bad later but I managed to keep my head in it. It’s a tough golf course and it’s also my first Major championship. I have never played links course before so to finish three-over-par, I’m pretty happy.
“Another round tomorrow, things could be different, you never know. I just have to be calm about it and see what happens. I made a long putt on hole 11 for birdie. It was about 40 feet or more. It was a really tough hole because it’s straight into the wind,” Jazz said.
The Thai duo were among those tied in 90th place, eight shots behind leader Kevin Kisner of the United States. Danthai Boonma, the other Thai debutant in the field, posted a 78.
“It has been awesome playing in my first Major. It’s kind of weird. You see so many good guys out here. In the locker, you might meet Tiger Woods while changing your shoes and Dustin Johnson might just walk past you at the range, it’s pretty mind-blowing,” said a thrilled Jazz.