Golf: Panuphol Pittayarat leads at Laguna after a sizzling 63 in opening round

Panuphol Pittayarat teeing off at hole 17 at The Championship at Laguna National, while David Lipsky (Left) looks on. Thailand's Panuphol Pittayarat fired a sizzling nine-under-par 63 to lead after the opening round of The Championship at Laguna
Panuphol Pittayarat teeing off at hole 17 at The Championship at Laguna National, while David Lipsky (Left) looks on. Thailand's Panuphol Pittayarat fired a sizzling nine-under-par 63 to lead after the opening round of The Championship at Laguna National on Thursday. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND LIM

Thailand's Panuphol Pittayarat fired a sizzling nine-under-par 63 to lead after the opening round of The Championship at Laguna National on Thursday.

The 21-year-old Thai's tally would have broken the course record by one shot had preferred lies not been in play following early morning rain. Under this ruling, golfers are allowed to improve their lies without penalty on certain parts of the course.

The Bangkok native, who stayed bogey-free, said: "I gave myself a lot of chances to score. It was a good day out there - I didn't see it coming but it did come."

Singapore's Quincy Quek leads a four-strong chasing pack who carded 64 at the new full-field event, which is sanctioned by the Asian and European Tours.

"I putted great today but the goal is to keep this going for another three days," said Quek, 27, who is looking for his first Asian Tour title.

Singapore stalwarts Mardan Mamat and Lam Chih Bing has to make up ground after a 71, sharing 86th spot with Austria's world No. 64 Bernd Wiesberger, the highest-ranked player in the field.

The $1.89 million tournament, previously known as the Ballantine's Championship, had been held in South Korea for the past six years.