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David Puig takes lead at the International series in Singapore with a 64

David Puig Bangkok one

David Puig, who has been consistently performing well since joining the Asian Tour last year with six top-15 finishes in just nine starts, once again took the lead after shooting a low score in the opening round of the US$2 million International Series Singapore. The Spaniard, who is based in Arizona, played a bogey-free round of eight-under-par 64 on the challenging Tampines Course at Tanah Merah Country Club on a hot and humid day. Chinese-Taipei’s Chang Wei-lun, and Thais Rattanon Wannasrichan and Itthipat Buranatanyarat, all returned scores of 67 in the seventh International Series event of the season.

Puig has been consistently in contention for a win on the Asian Tour since turning professional in September last year. In his last three appearances, he finished tied for fourth in the International Series England, tied for 14th in the St Andrew Bay Championship, and tied for 11th in the Shinhan Donghae Open, always posing a threat to win. He made an impressive start today with three birdies on the front nine and five birdies on the back, including three in the last four holes. “It was a tough course under tough conditions,” said the 21-year-old, who plays for Torque GC, the dominant team in the LIV Golf League this season with four wins. “Although some holes were a bit shorter today, it was still a tough course with firm greens. I hit the ball really well, especially on the front nine. I had three eagle opportunities and ended up with a three-under score and only 17 putts. I missed only one green. On the back nine, I continued to play solid with good shots and made more putts. So, I’m very happy with my round.”

Puig highlighted his strong driving this year, which gave him an advantage on the long course and helped him navigate both precise and more open holes. In his very first event on the Asian Tour last year, the International Series Morocco, he finished in third place after leading overnight. This set the tone for a consistent run of high-quality golf. “I have been playing well these past few months. I’ve had many good rounds, although I couldn’t finish on top in all these tournaments. But I continue to learn. I know I’m a good player, and that’s why I’m here and why I play on LIV. My scores prove it. I practice hard, and I believe I’m doing everything right with my team,” Puig added.

Chang, despite carrying an ankle injury, is currently in good form. He tied for fifth place in the Mercuries Taiwan Masters last week. “I injured my right ankle last week,” said Chang, who won the Charming Yeangder event on the Asian Development Tour in 2019. “I am not limping, but I felt uncomfortable throughout today’s round. I hurt my ankle during the third round last week, but I played through it on the final day. I didn’t think much of it, and I played well to secure a top-five finish on Sunday. That gave me a lot of confidence coming into this week. I brought the injury with me, but since this is my third time playing here, I am familiar with the course. I’ll take it shot by shot. I can’t do much about my injured ankle, so I’ll just play the best I can.”

Chang started on the 10th hole and turned in a two-under score, thanks to consecutive birdies on the 15th and 16th holes. “Those back-to-back birdies got me going. The course is in great condition, as always. There is nothing I can complain about.”

In addition to Puig and Chang, several other players scored a 68, including Order of Merit leader Andy Ogletree from the United States, Tomoharu Otsuki from Japan, Bio Kim, Meenwhee Kim, and Taehee Lee from Korea, Ben Campbell from New Zealand, and Suradit Yongcharoenchai, Suteepat Prateeptienchai, and Atiruj Winaicharoenchai from Thailand. Defending champion Nitithorn Thippong from Thailand and former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel both returned scores of 71, as did Taichi Kho from Hong Kong, who won the individual gold medal at the Asian Games last week. Jaco Ahlers, the winner of last week’s Mercuries Taiwan Masters, posted a 72, while Graeme McDowell from Northern Ireland finished with a 74. Singapore amateur Ryan Ang recorded a score of 70, making him the leading local player. Ang, along with James Leow, was the joint leading Singaporean in the Asian Games last week, finishing tied for 12th. Leow carded an even-par score today.

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