Canada’s Ryan Yip shot a flawless seven-under 64 to take the first-round lead ahead of better-known rivals at the C.J. Invitational in South Korea yesterday.
Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant, a 14-time Asian tour winner, and Australia’s Rick Kulacz shared second place on 65 at the tournament hosted by South Korean star K.J. Choi.
South Korea’s Lee Dong-hwan signed for a 66 to take fourth place, while seven players posted 67 to share fifth place, including seven-time Asian Tour winner Charlie Wi, South Korea’s Lee Sung and Thailand’s Chapchai Nirat.
Taiwan’s Chan Yih-shin shot a disappointing five-over 76.
However, Yip was the star on the first day of the US$750,000 event at Haesley Nine Bridges Golf Club in the northern county of Yeoju, which is jointly sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the Korean Golf Tour.
“It’s all about giving yourself as many chances as you can, and luckily for me I made a couple of putts and played really solid today,” said the 28-year old, in comments released by the tournament organizers. “I love events like this ... [it] grows the game and it’s great for Asian golf.”
Thaworn carded a flawless 65, despite being distracted by the huge crowd following the marquee group of host K.J Choi and Ben Curtis of the US, who were playing ahead of him, but the Thai, who holds the record of the most number of wins on the Asian Tour, felt that his score could have been better.
“The putts were all dropping and I couldn’t have played my short game any better. I was just affected by the crowd ahead as they were running everywhere eager to watch K.J. in action,” Thaworn said.
Additional reporting by staff writer