BANGKOK, August 10 - Promising Thai amateur Natipong Srithong is eyeing a future on OneAsia after finishing his law studies at university.
The decision to swap legal tomes for yardage books was re-inforced by a stunning 65 in the opening round of the U. S. $1 million Thailand Open at Suwan Golf & Country Club.
His bogey-free round eclipsed the efforts of a host of big-name players and placed him joint third behind leaders Kim Hyung-tae of Korea and Japan’s Yasunori Yoshida.
“It is my ambition to turn professional after finishing my education,” said Natipong, who is studying for a law degree at Thammasat University in Bangkok.
“I am looking to play OneAsia and Japan Tour and then possibly try for the European Tour.”
Natipong endured a rollercoaster round on Friday with a double-bogey seven at the 18th hole -- when he dumped his approach into the water -- en route to a disappointing three-over-par 75.
“I did not have a good feeling about my game today,” lamented Natipong. “After the double bogey at the last I will be sweating a bit to see if I make the cut.”
After waiting at the course all afternoon, it was confirmed he would make the weekend play along with fellow Thai amateurs Tawan Phongphun and Poom Saksansin.
The talented 18-year-old, who hit his first shot at a driving range when he was just three, is building quite a reputation for himself in the amateur ranks.
He won the Singha Thailand Amateur Championship last year and picked up a team golf and individual silver medal at the SEA Games in Indonesia.
He was awarded a spot in the Thailand Open as a member of the national team and seized the opportunity to compete at Suwan Golf & Country Club, which is his home course.