Phuket: Thailand's Suttijet Kooratanapisan has a big advantage over the rest of the field at this week's US$1million Laguna Phuket Championship -- he knows what it is like to shoot 59 on the Laguna Golf Phuket layout.
In 2017, Suttijet fired an 11-under-par 59 in the Phuket Open on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) to become the first player to shoot sub-60 in the history of the Asian Tour and ADT.
Preferred lies were played so it could not stand as a record, but a 59 is still a 59."Actually, I just kept going birdie, birdie, birdie that day," said the 34-year-old.
"I didn't think about my score at all until the last hole, when I knew I needed a birdie to shoot 59."
He drained a 30-foot birdie putt to break 60. His compatriot Naras Luangphetcharaporn is the only other player to shoot 59 -- achieved at the Asian Tour's qualifying school in 2019 -- also when lift, clean and place rules applied.
Suttijet made an eagle and nine birdies -- including four in the last four holes -- to finish in third place in the Phuket Open.
The Thai golfer is looking for his first win on the Asian Tour -- his best was second place in the 2016 Bangladesh Open -- but he does have one ADT win to his name, the PGM Palm Resort Championship, also in 2016.
"This week is a lot harder though. The rough is very long and the fairways are very narrow. It's not the same as last time. My goal this week is just to play under par every day. Right now my putting is very good," he said.
This week's Laguna Phuket Championship is the second and final part of the Asian Tour Phuket Series, which marked the restart of the tour's 2020-21 season.
Taiwan's Chan Shih-chang, who claimed last week's Blue Canyon Phuket Championship is again competing, along with a powerful line-up of the tour's best players including current Order of Merit leader Wade Ormsby from Australia and his countryman Scott Hend, a 10-time Asian Tour winner, reigning Order of Merit champion Jazz Janewattananond from Thailand, and South Korean teenager Kim Joo-Hyung, who was joint runner-up last week, and 14-year-old Thai Ratchanon Chantananuwat, who was the low amateur last week.