Thailand’s Danthai Boonma laid down the early marker when he opened with a flawless four-under-par 67 to take the first-round lead under blustery conditions at the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup on Thursday.
On a day where only 12 out of 144 players broke par, Danthai emerged as the leader of the pack when he marked his card with two birdies and an eagle to stay ahead at the Sobu Country Club.
The Thai, a one-time Asian Tour winner, has already won twice this year with victories coming from a domestic event in February and on the Japan Challenge Tour last month.
“I’m very happy with my score today; it was very windy but I was able to stay bogey-free,” Danthai said.
“I’m playing on this golf course for the first time, too.”
Canberra’s Brendan Jones remained a threat to Danthai’s title ambitions as he trails the Thai by one after signing for a 68 to share second place with Japan’s Tomoyo Ikemura.
RIGHT: Jones trails Danthai by one shot after the opening round of the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup. PHOTO: Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images. TOP: Supplied by the Asian Tour.
The experienced Jones is no stranger to success in Japan, holding multiple wins in the Land of the Rising Sun, with the latest coming only last month in Nagoya.
“It’s always nice when you are in a good position – but you just cannot get too carried away as it’s only the first round and there’s still a lot of golf left to play,” Jones said.
Asia’s first major winner, Y.E. Yang of Korea, returned with a 69 to take tied-fourth place, while Thailand’s Prayad Marksaeng, Prom Meesawat together with Philippines’ Miguel Tabuena and Japan’s Shugo Imahira are bunched in equal ninth place after they posted matching 70s.
The Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup is the Asian Tour’s first stop in Japan this season and second of four co-sanctioned events with the Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO) this year.