Date: March 21, 2008

Aussies keep the pace

Australians David Bransdon, Michael Wright and Gavin Flint both carded four-under par rounds of 68 to be well in contention after the opening round of the Asian Tour International in Thailand. Korean rookie Noh Seung-yul and Thailand&aposs Sattaya Supupramai hold a one-stroke lead after carding eight-under-par 64s at the Pattana Golf and Sports Resort. Brad Kennedy, Neven Basic and Scott Hend are the next best Australians in the field at three-under the card. The 16-year-old Noh, a former Korean amateur No. 1, holed two eagles in a bogey-free round while Sattaya, 24, signed for nine birdies against a lone dropped shot. Chinese Taipei&aposs Lin Wen-tang and England&aposs Simon Griffiths head the chasing pack at seven-under, with India&aposs Rahil Gangjee, Japan&aposs Mitsuhiro Tateyama and Welshman Craig Smith a further shot off the first-round pace. Noh played his flawless opening round with father Noh Gu Huieun on the bag. “It was down to my putting today which helped me produce a low score. But my dad has been great helping me read the greens and I&aposm pleased with the result,” he said. “The eagles were great as the ball landed around 15 feet away from the pin on both holes. I&aposm happy to be playing here and I hope to keep up my steady performance on the greens.” Sattaya missed out on a top-40 finish at the Asian Tour Qualifying School in December last year, but is relishing the chance to secure full playing rights, with the support of caddie Silikon Aimsamaong, who has previously worked with fellow Thai Prayad Marksaeng. “I&aposm enjoying my game right now. I finished in the top-10 in a local tournament last week and I had a solid finish today with birdies on my last two holes so I&aposm very happy with my form,” said Bangkok-based Sattaya. “I missed the Qualifying School by three strokes and it was frustrating as I had struck bogeys in my last three holes.” “My mental game has been the letdown for me but I learnt from that experience and it showed today. I can handle the pressure and I&aposm comfortable out on course compared to how it was before.”