Smoking hot Gunn Charoenkul steps up after wife’s ‘verbal beating’

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Gunn Charoenkul - TheGolfingHub
Gunn Charoenkul did the right things after mixing six birdies with a bogey to tie for fourth place at the ABC Championship in Hyogo on Thursday. Photo: JGTO

Thailand’s Gunn Charoenkul boosted his hopes of keeping his playing privileges for 2023 with a solid five-under-par 67 on the opening day of the Mynavi ABC Championship.

The 30-year-old only had two top-10 results to show all season and has his work cut out to break into the all-important top-65 in the JGTO Money Rankings.

And Gunn is certainly doing all the right things after mixing six birdies with a bogey to tie for fourth place at the ABC Golf Club in Hyogo on Thursday.

The solid round left Gunn just two shots behind Riki Kawamoto, a two-time winner this season, who fired a 65 to lead by one from Shugo Imahira and Kazuki Higa.

“Driving was great today but still needs a bit of work, but my iron game was much better,” said Gunn, who hit three out of 14 fairways.

“Had a couple of miraculous par saves on 16 and 17 to keep my momentum going. I’m very happy with how my game is trending.”

Gunn desperately needs a strong finish this week knowing that he won’t be playing in the next two stops, the Mitsui Sumitomo Visa Taiheiyo Masters and Dunlop Phoenix Masters.

But he doesn’t want to put himself under unnecessary pressure either.

“I think I’ll need a top-three finish to break into top-65 because the other guys have two big ones,” said Gunn, who’s now ranked 74th.

“Well if I get it, I get it. Just wanted to have fun. That’s all I’m looking for right now.

“It’s been a tough year for me. So, before my wife went back last Sunday, we sat down and talk.  Had a few verbal beatings from her, and coming into this week I just want to have fun playing golf again, no matter the result.”

Australian veteran Brendan Jones, who claimed his maiden victory in this tournament exactly two decades ago, posted a 68 to finish the day as the next-highest international finishers with Sanghee Lee of South Korea.