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Puig charges in front

SINGAPORE: David Puig of Spain pictured during Round One of the International Series Singapore at the Tanah Merah Country Club (Tampines Course) on Thursday October 5, 2023. The US$2 million Asian Tour event is staged from October 5-8, 2023. Picture by Paul Lakatos/Asian Tour.

SINGAPORE (AFP) — David Puig overcame tropical heat and humidity to seize early control of the International Series Singapore golf by firing a first round of eight-under-par 64 on Thursday.

Puig, who plays on the Saudi-backed LIV Golf circuit for Torque GC, was in scorching form as he marked his bogey-free card with eight birdies, including on consecutive holes to close out the front and back nines of the Tampines course at Tanah Merah Country Club.

“Tough course, tough conditions. It is true that some holes were a little shorter today, but still a tough course with firm greens,” said Puig, who finished third in his first event on the Asian Tour at the 2022 International Series Morocco.

The Philippines’ Angelo Que had a 71 in the opening round.

The 21-year-old Spaniard holds a three-shot lead over Thailand’s Itthipat Buranatanyarat and Rattanon Wannasrichan and Taiwan’s Chang Wei-lun at the US$2 million event, which is the seventh stop on The International Series 2023 schedule.

Puig, who was recruited as one of the youngest members of LIV Golf, brushed aside criticism of the quality of golfers on the breakaway circuit.

“I know I am a good player and that’s why I am here and why I play on LIV. I know that, and also the scores tell that,” he said.

Hong Kong’s Taichi Kho, who clinched the Asian Games golf individual gold medal last week, opened his campaign with a one-under 71, while 2010 US Open champion Graeme McDowell struggled to a 74.

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