Belgium’s Thomas Detry took the early honours by opening with an eight-under-par 63 to grab the first round lead at the Asian Tour’s season-ending Thailand Masters on Thursday.
Detry, who is enjoying his week away home where the harsh winter conditions are hitting, sprinted towards the turn with three birdies on holes 10, 13 and 16 in his starting back-nine.
The Belgian then continued his birdie blitz on holes one, three, six, seven and nine to return with a bogey-free 63 for a one-shot lead over Thailand’s Settee Prakongvech at the Pheonix Gold Golf and Country Club.
“It’s beautiful to be here in Thailand as the weather’s pretty horrible back home,” Detry said. “It gets dark at 3.30 in the afternoon and the sun is up at 10 and we get so much rain and wind. The course is in great condition and Thongchai is taking good care of me. I’m having a blast so far.”
Prakongvech, who is currently in 93rd place on the Order of Merit, knows he needs a very good result to move inside the top-61 place and secure his card for next season.
"The course is in great condition and Thongchai is taking good care of me. I’m having a blast so far.” - Thomas Detry
It is the last chance saloon for the 25-year-old as he is determined to close the year with a grandstand finish in front of his friends and family.
“I know this is my last chance to secure my Asian Tour card and I hope something good will come my way this week,” Prakongvech said. “I need a really big finish, maybe finishing inside the top-three or win. But anything can happen in golf and I’m hopeful of miracles.”
American Berry Henson signed for a 65 to restore some much needed confidence after only securing one top-10 this year in Korea.
“I cannot complain as my goal was to shoot five-under today. I got to six but I didn’t really feel like a six-under round,” Henson said. “I got a few good breaks, made some bad putts that went in. So it was kind of a sneaky 65 today, but I’ll take it anytime. I only had one top-10 this year but I did also play some decent golf this year. I made some adjustments to my game and I’m trying to get ready for next season.”
Henson mixed his card with seven birdies and one bogey to stay two shots back of Detry together with Thailand’s Gunn Charoenkul in tied-third place.
Thailand’s Phachara Khongwatmai, who is chasing his Asian Tour breakthrough this week, posted a 65, trailing Detry by three shots in a share of fifth place which also included Indonesia’s Rory Hie.