An starts defence well #ShinhanDonghaeOpen

Thu 29 Sep 2016

An starts defence well #ShinhanDonghaeOpen

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Incheon, Korea, September 29: Korea’s Byeonghun An got his title defence off to a promising start when he opened with a six-under-par 65 to grab the first round lead at the KRW 1.2 billion (approximately US$1 million) Shinhan Donghae Open on Thursday.
Lee Sung, a one-time Asian Tour winner, ensured a strong local presence atop the leaderboard by signing for a 66 to share second place with compatriots Giwhan Kim and Taewoo Kim at the Shinhan Donghae Open which is seeing the return of the Asian Tour as its new sanctioning partner along with the Korean PGA.
Qualifying school graduate Nicholas Paez of the United States together with Thailand’s Thitiphun Chuayprakong and Australia’s Michael Wright led the international charge by returning with a 67 to share fifth place with Koreans Jungho Yoon and Junsung Kim.
Playing alongside Australian Order of Merit leader Scott Hend and New Zealand’s Danny Lee, An was in the first group out on the opening back-nine 10.
The world number 38, who is the highest ranked player this week, had to overcome two early bogey scares on 10 and 11 before he steadied the ship with eight birdies to stay ahead of the chasing pack at the Bears Best Cheongna Golf Club.
“It was a horrible start as I didn’t hit it well. I was a little nervous, 7am was also a bit early in the morning.
“This is the first round, first hole of the tournament and I always worry about it the day before, like whether I’m going to shoot a 80 today. But once I got that out of my mind, I knew it was going to be okay,” said An.
The Olympian started to plot his way back with three successive birdies starting from the par-five 14.
He then continued his birdie blitz in his inward-nine with five birdies to stake his claim as the first round leader.
“I like this course as I know there are many birdie opportunities out there so I tried to grind my way to make the par and slowly I got more confidence with my swing and putting.
“Once I started making those birdies, the momentum got going and I knew it would continue once I continue to start rolling those birdie putts into the hole,” said An.
Lee took advantage of his home familiarity to power his way towards the top of the leaderboard with a 66 that saw him trail An by a single shot.
“I haven’t played much on the Asian Tour apart from Q School and Bangladesh. No particular reason but I just prefer to play at home in Korea nowadays. If I’m not competing on the domestic Tour, I would spend my time practising and improving my game.
“I played on the course before and I like it. My putting was the key to a good round today and I hope to continue playing the way I did today,” said the 36-year-old.
Paez managed to soak in the positives despite having to rue two costly bogeys on eight and 18 which halted his charge.
The American is playing in Korea for the first time and believes he can only get better after his encouraging first round performance.
“I lost my focus on my second last hole and missed a really short putt. I saw what Ben shot and I was trying to follow what he did. I was not able to get there but I’m still pleased with how I played today
“I like the course here and the type of grass we play on. I’ve a good feeling about the week ahead and I can look forward to more of such performances to come,” said the American.
Meanwhile Danny stayed closed to An by returning with a 68 to stay three shots adrift of his fellow Olympian in tied-10th place.
The Kiwi also stumbled early with two bogeys in his first three holes before making his charge.
Danny believed it was the motivation of watching An recovery that led him to an encouraging performance of his own.
“Ben An just played fantastic today and made every putt and I was just trying to do whatever he was doing. It was a fun round. We’re all good friends and that helps a lot.
“Once somebody in the group plays really well, it will give us motivation to try to catch up and play just as good as that guy,” said Lee.
Sponsored by the Shinhan Financial Group for the past 32 years, the Shinhan Donghae Open last featured on the Asian Tour schedule in 2002 and will be the last major tournament on the KPGA schedule.
Leading Scores after round 1 of the The 32nd Shinhan Donghae Open being played at the par 71, 6933 Yards Bear's Best Cheongna GC course (am - denotes amateur):
65 - Byeonghun An (KOR).
66 - Sung LEE (KOR), Giwhan KIM (KOR), Taewoo 1468 KIM (KOR).
67 - Jungho YOON (KOR), Junsung KIM (KOR), Michael WRIGHT (AUS), Nicolas PAEZ (USA), Thitiphun CHUAYPRAKONG (THA).
68 - Danny LEE (NZL), Jeonghyeob HYUN (KOR), Malcolm KOKOCINSKI (SWE), Changwoo LEE (KOR), Khalin JOSHI (IND), Jbe KRUGER (RSA), Gaganjeet BHULLAR (IND), Rory HIE (INA), Gowoong CHOI (KOR).
69 - Sanghyun PARK (KOR), Minkyu HAN (KOR), Inhoi HUR (KOR), Junwon PARK (KOR), Keith HORNE (RSA), Bongsub KIM (KOR), Thongchai JAIDEE (THA), Byungjun KIM (KOR), Rattanon WANNASRICHAN (THA), Adam GROOM (AUS), Scott VINCENT (ZIM), Changkyu HONG (USA).
70 - Scott HEND (AUS), Tom JOHNSON (USA), Natipong SRITHONG (THA), Junsub PARK (KOR), Lionel WEBER (FRA), Kalem RICHARDSON (AUS), Daniel CHOPRA (SWE), Minseok KANG (KOR), Jooneob SON (KOR), Jason KNUTZON (USA), Jeewon PARK (am, KOR).
Ends.
About Shinhan Financial Group
Shinhan Financial Group (SFG) is one of the leading financial institutions in Korea. It is the largest financial services provider in Korea in terms of both total assets and profitability. Shinhan Financial Group currently has 13 direct subsidiaries and 24 indirect subsidiaries offering a wide range of financial products and services, including commercial banking, corporate banking, private banking, credit card, asset management, brokerage and insurance services. The Group currently serves approximately 18.3 million active customers through 25,600 employees at 1,488 network branches group-wide. The company is headquartered in Seoul, South Korea and operates 156 offices in 19 countries including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, China, Germany, India, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Kazakhstan, Singapore, Mexico, Uzbekistan, Myanmar, Poland, Philippine and Dubai.www.Shinhangroup.com
About the Korean PGA
KPGA is the organization of the Korean men's professional golfers and teaching professionals which was founded in 1968. At present, with 6,000 members, KPGA's goal is to enhance the careers of its members as well as to develop the game of golf through professional tournaments.
About the Asian Tour
As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include ECCO (Official Footwear Sponsor), FENIX XCell (Official Apparel Supplier), Hilton Worldwide (Official Hotel Partner), Titleist (Official Web Partner), Bloomberg TV (Official International Media Sponsor), Bloomberg Businessweek Chinese (Official Business Publication Sponsor) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). Sentosa, Singapore is the Home of the Asian Tour which also has an office in Kuala Lumpur. Also, visit us at www.asiantour.comwww.facebook.com/asiantourgolf, www.twitter.com/asiantourgolf, www.youtube.com/theasiantour and www.weibo.com/asiantourgolf.