Mardan on fire

Mardan on fire

A bogey-bogey finish upsets most golfers.

But not Mardan Mamat on the first day of the Thailand Golf Championship at Chonburi Thursday.

The 46-year-old Singaporean No. 1 professional instead looked at the positives in his superlative round of four-under 68, buoyed by seven birdies on the way out.

Mardan bagged eight birdies against four bogeys to finish the day joint-sixth against a stellar field that included a host of world-ranked players such as Justin Rose, Charl Schwartzel, Henrik Stenson and Bubba Watson at the Amata Spring Country Club.

Starting on the 10th tee, he said about the finish: "I was beyond the fringe of the green on the par-three 17th. I chipped and two-putted for bogey.

"Then on the par-four 18th, I found the rough with my drive. And my rescue-wood approach landed near the trees. I had to make a difficult chip and two-putted from distance to bogey again.

"It wasn't the finish I wanted, but overall I played well. I was on fire in the first nine, something I haven't done for a long while."

Germany's Alex Cejka fired a magnificent 64 to lead by one shot from world No. 4 Justin Rose of England and local hope Arnond Vongvanij.

The widely-travelled Cejka, who has 10 career wins but not since 2002, was in irrepressible form, firing eight birdies for an unblemished card in the US$1 million ($1.25m) Asian Tour event.

The 43-year-old was delighted to upstage the stars on his first wedding anniversary with his wife, Alyssa.

"Nice to shoot a good score on a good day," said the German, who got married on the Thai holiday isle of Phuket.

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