Thailand’s in-form young star Sadom Kaewkanjana equaled Australian Greg Norman’s course record on the Canyon Course at Blue Canyon Country Club today with an imperious eight-under-par 64, and although it could not be counted as an official record because preferred lies were played he still stormed to the top of the leaderboard at the US$1million Blue Canyon Phuket Championship.

Eight brilliant birdies ‒ three on the front, five on the back ‒ saw him move into the lead on 12 under par by a stroke from American John Catlin, the first-round leader, who shot 68.

Korean Sihwan Kim and Chinese-Taipei’s Chan Shih-chang are a stroke further behind after rounds of 66 and 68 respectively ‒ in an event that marks the resumption of the Asian Tour’s 2020-21 season, following a 20-month hiatus caused by the pandemic.

“My game today is pretty good,” said 23-year-old Sadom, whose round also matched South African Anton Haig’s 64 from the 2007 Johnnie Walker Classic.

“Especially iron play and putting. I hit close to the pin and made many birdies. And I have only missed one fairway this week.”

Sadom has claimed four titles on the All Thailand Golf Tour in the past two months including the Thailand Open and looks like being the man to beat this week, along with Catlin.

He added: “Initially this week I was just focusing on making the cut, but I am changing my game plan for tomorrow and looking to go further.” 

Catlin carded a sublime 65 to take the first-round lead yesterday and stayed in the hunt today thanks to six birdies and just two dropped shots.

“I played well today but need to go to the range and work on a few things,” said Catlin.

“It was a very early start today. I was up at 4.30am and we didn’t get back until late last night, so I basically went straight to bed. But it’s great to be in this position and have a chance at the weekend.”

Joohyung Kim, the 19-year-old Korean star, came in with a 67 and is four off the lead.

Australian Wade Ormsby, the current leader of the Asian Tour Order of Merit, shot a 69 and is six off the pace, while Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond ‒ the reigning Merit list champion ‒ returned a 72 to surprisingly miss the cut, made at one under, by four. 

Thailand’s 14-year-old golf prodigy Ratchanon Chantananuwat signed for a 72 to become the third youngest player to make the cut on the Asian Tour. He’s on one under par and as the only amateur to survive the halfway cut has secured the low amateur award.

“I am capable of playing better but I scrambled well. It’s my first Asian Tour event and I have basically loved being here since Monday,” said the youngster.

In 2010 Jazz became the youngest player, at age 14 years 71 days, to make the cut in an Asian Tour event at the Asian Tour International in Bangkok, as an amateur.