Matsuyama and Rahman set early pace; Irishman Turner three shots back28/02/2013 - 10:52:01
Japanese amateur Hideki Matsuyama shared the lead after round one of the Open Championship Asian qualifying event in Bangkok.
Matsuyama shot a six-under-par 66, a total matched only by Bangladesh’s Siddikur Rahman as the pair took the halfway lead at Amata Spring Country Club.
Ireland’s Niall Turner is three shots back.
The top four players after tomorrow’s second round will earn places at Muirfield in July.
Matsuyama turned 21 earlier this week and would have been celebrating again after opening his round with three successive birdies.
He took six at the long seventh and gave another shot back at the next, but responded with another run of three consecutive birdies before adding two more at the 15th and 18th.
Siddikur, bidding to become the first Bangladeshi ever to qualify for the Open, started even better with four birdies after beginning his round at the 10th, and a seven-birdie round was only marred late on by a dropped shot at the eighth.
Australia’s Scott Barr, Singapore pair Lam Zhiqun and Quincy Quek and China’s Hu Mu all finished one shot behind while eight more players carded four-under 68s. That group includes the two highest-placed Americans in Berry Henson and Anthony Kang as well as Thailand’s Prayad Marksaeng.
Scotland’s James Byrne and England’s Stephen Lewton head the British challenge on two under. Another Englishman, Miles Tunnicliff, withdrew from contention.
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