World No. 3 Lee Westwood fired a stunning 12-under 60 to take a commanding five-shot lead on the opening day of the inaugural US$1 million Thailand Golf Championship yesterday.
The 38-year-old Englishman sank an eagle and 10 birdies in his round and was six-under after the opening five holes. He made the turn in just 29 shots on his way to equaling the lowest score ever on the Asian Tour.
“It’s one of the best rounds I’ve ever played,” Westwood said at Amata Spring Country Club near Bangkok.
In second place was big-hitting John Daly of the US, who continued his improving form with a seven-under 65, featuring five birdies and an eagle.
Three shots further back in joint third place on 68 were Gregory Bourdy of France and veteran Thai player Thaworn Wiratchant.
Bourdy, whose sole bogey was on his last hole, the ninth, said: “It was a good bogey. The ninth is a very difficult hole.”
Thaworn, who had earlier suggested the appearance money for some of the top players could have been better spent on flood relief, called his round “lucky” as he had not expected a four-under score.
The Thai player, himself a flood victim, when asked if he would donate his prize-money to disaster relief, replied: “I don’t know. My first aim is to make the cut.”
Among 10 players a shot further back after shooting 69 was Masters champion, Charl Schwartzel.
The other two players in Westwood’s marquee group, Japanese star Ryo Ishikawa and Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee, both settled for two-under 70.