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Prayad’s birthday wish – to win SMBC Singapore Open

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Evergreen Prayad Marksaeng, eyeing a victory in the SMBC Singapore Open to celebrate his 50th birthday on Saturday, shot an impressive two-under 69 in the opening round on Thursday to lie three shots adrift of early leader, South Africa’s Keith Horne.

The Thai veteran has nine Asian Tour and five Japan Golf Tour titles to his name yet showed again at Sentosa Golf Club that the competitive juices are still flowing freely.

“Everyone would like a win to celebrate a birthday (and that is my aim),” said Prayad, who won the Queen’s Cup and the Fukushima Open last year.

“If I do not leave with the trophy here, I will try to win later in Japan as a birthday gift (to myself).”

Prayad played great golf from tee to green but his putting proved to be his Achilles heel on a blistering hot day.

He hit 17 greens in regulation and nabbed birdies at the 11th (his second hole after starting at the 10th),18th and sixth with his only dropped shot of the round coming at the second.

“I had a lot of birdie putts that I did not convert,” said Prayad, whose best finish in the Singapore Open over the Serapong Course was 10th place in 2010.

“I was not reading the greens that well and my speed was not great. I have been struggling with my putting for a couple of months,” added Prayad, who has changed putters a couple of times during that period in a bid to remedy the problem.

Prayad is still one of best ball strikers in the Asian game and feels that age is no barrier to success.

“Even though I am turning 50 in a couple of days I am still competitive and want to win more titles,” he said.

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