Rayhan Thomas
Rayhan Thomas is making his International Series debut this week Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai-born Rayhan Thomas underlined his undoubted talent as he carded a four-under round of 69 to sit just three off the clubhouse lead in his first Asian Tour professional start at International Series Morocco.

The 24-year-old, who turned pro after graduating from Oklahoma State University this summer, teed off on 10 in the morning session at the Royal Golf Dar Es Salam’s testing Red Course and he got off to a strong start with a birdie on 12, his third hole.

A dropped shot on 14 was the only blip for the Indian all day, and he hit back quickly with a birdie the following hole, before chipping in for an eagle on the 287-yard par 4 17th and recording another birdie at his turn on the first.

Consistently straight off the tee, Thomas parred his way home, and declared himself satisfied with the four-under 69 that left him three behind leader, John Catlin.

“I felt pretty good out there, I drove the ball well and took my opportunities when I had them,” said Thomas.

“I did all the basics very well, and I kept everything in front of me which was nice. I felt good, I have been seeing some real progress over the last couple of months and it was great to go out there and shoot a decent number. I did (leave a few behind) but for the best part I got a lot out of my round and I am pretty happy with it overall.”

Thomas, who finished runner-up in the 2018 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, admits he will not change his approach too much for the second round.

“Pick good targets and be aggressive, and wherever the ball goes, it goes,” he said. “Hopefully I can keep playing the way I’m playing, make some birdies and hopefully have a chance on Sunday.”

Asian Tour Order of Merit leader Catlin found himself in a familiar after his opening round seven-under-par 66 saw him lead the way alongside rising star ising star Kazuma Kobori.

The American made an eagle and five birdies, evidence he is still playing the exceptionally high level of golf that saw him win the International Series Macau presented by Wynn and the Saudi Open presented by PIF back-to-back this year.

“Just very solid,” said the American, who is also second on The International Series Rankings.

“Hit a lot of really good shots. Actually left a few out there, it could have been even better, but I am very, very pleased with how I played. I am looking forward to the next three days.”