Davies Grabs Opening Lead

Thu 11 Dec 2008

Davies Grabs Opening Lead

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Siem Reap, Cambodia, December 11: Wales' Rhys Davies carded an opening eight-under-par 64 to take the first round lead at the US$300,000 Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open and promised to put up a stronger challenge so as to make amends for last week's heartbreak.
Two-time Asian Tour winner Anthony Kang of the United States is a further shot back on 65 while Indonesia?s Rory Hidayat posted a 66 to take third place. Thailand's Chawalit Plaphol, who had earlier taken the morning lead, is in fourth place on 67.
Fellow compatriot Thongchai Jaidee, Thaworn Wiratchant together with Australia's Gavin Flint, Malaysia?s Airil Rizman and Korea's Park Jae-bum are bunched together in fifth on matching 68s.
Davies came agonizingly close to his maiden win on the Asian Tour last week when lost in a play-off to Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee at the Hana Bank Vietnam Masters.
But with the strong start that he made today, where he recorded nine birdies against a single bogey, the Wales rookie is hoping that it will be his turn to be rewarded this week.
"I played really well today. I just went out there, got very focus, hit a lot of good shots and was rewarded with a low score today," said Davies.
"Last week was a great week too. But I can't dwell over one little shot which I couldn't control and missed in the play-off. It's a new week, great start and I hope it continues," added Davies.
Meanwhile, Kang who is seeking to end his Asian Tour title drought since 2001, also impressed by firing eight birdies against a lone bogey to finish closely behind Davies at the Phokeethra Country Club.
"I'm really happy with my iron shots, my distance control and I hope it continues for the next three days. I've two more events left for the year and I hope to end it well," said Kang.
Thailand's Chawalit Plaphol also bolstered his chances of winning his third Asian Tour title after grabbing the early morning lead.
Chawalit got off to a strong start on his opening back-nine when he rattled in five birdies before making the turn in four-under.
The 34-year-old Thai continued to maintain his good form with two more birdies on the second and fourth hole after the turn before dropping a shot on the sixth for a lone bogey.
"I'm quite pleased with how I've played today. If there's any aspect of my game which I can credit to, it'll be my putting and tee shots," said Chawalit.
"My strategy and game plan for tomorrow is the same as today, which is to go out there, hit the fairways and attack the pins," added Chawalit.
Defending champion Bryan Saltus of the United States began his defence with a 72 to end the day in tied-43rd place.
The Johnnie Walker Cambodia Open makes its return to the Phokeethra Country Club from December 11 -14, with the promise of further charting the growth and development of golf in Cambodia.
The event is also the only international golf tournament to be held in the Kingdom of Cambodia and is part of the burgeoning 2008 Asian Tour schedule where there will be a minimum of 30 tournaments with over US$39 million in total prize money on offer.
Leading first round scores
64 ? Rhys Davies (Wal)
65 ? Anthony Kang (Usa)
66 - Rory Hidayat (Ina)
67 ? Chawalit Plaphol (Tha)
68 ? Thaworn Wiratchant (Tha),Thongchai Jaidee (Tha), Gavin Flint (Aus), Airil Rizman (Mas), Park Jae-Bum (Kor)
Selected scores
70 ? Mardan Mamat (Sin)
72  - Bryan Saltus (Sin)
Ends.
About Johnnie Walker
JOHNNIE WALKER is the world?s number one Scotch whisky brand with annual sales of an estimated 12.7 million nine-litre cases. It is owned by Diageo Plc, the world?s leading premium drinks business.
The JOHNNIE WALKER brand is the icon of status and sophistication. The philosophy behind the JOHNNIE WALKER brand advertising and the ?Keep Walking? message is to inspire and recognize progress and success in people who symbolize status and sophistication.
JOHNNIE WALKER has a long association with golf. Golf and Scotch whisky are arguably two of Scotland?s greatest gifts to the world, which may explain why the world?s leading Scotch whisky brand, JOHNNIE WALKER, is the title sponsor for the Cambodia Open 2007
JOHNNIE WALKER?s association with golf dates back to the mid 19th Century with involvement in many prestigious tournaments including the Ryder Cup in the 1990s and today across all levels of the game and across all continents on earth.
About Phokeethra Country Club
Phokeethra Country Club offers unique and memorable golfing experiences.  It is steeped in the history of the region. Within its grounds stands the magnificent ancient ?Roluh? bridge dating back to a Khmer empire in the 11th century AD.  Apart from the historical related, the Phokeethra Country Club?s clubhouse also features world-class facilities and affords picture-window vistas overlooking the entire landscape of the course.  Phokeethra Country Club is also ranked amongst the top five of the Best New Courses in Asia by Asian Golf Monthly Magazine and also is ranked as the Top Investment by TTG Magazine. As an official partner, Sofitel Phokeethra Royal Angkor Golf & Spa Resort, which is the luxurious five stars resort in Siem Reap, welcomes you all to world-class accommodation and amenities.  Sofitel Phokeethra Royal Angkor Golf & Spa Resort is located close to the magnificent Angkor Wat World Heritage Site.  It offers 238 superior and deluxe rooms including 23 suites and the unique Thubtim Siam Presidential Suite.  As service is the core of the whole operations, Sofitel Phokeethra Royal Angkor Golf & Spa Resort is ranked in the gold list world?s best 700 hotels, resorts and cruise lines, with 100 percent of services by the travelers in the world famous Magazine, Condé Nast Traveler Magazine.
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 Carlsberg (Official Beer), ESPN Star Sports (Official Regional TV Broadcaster), Pin High (Official Apparel Partner), Sofitel (Official Hotel) and Srixon (Official Ball). Sentosa, Singapore?s premier island resort getaway, is the Home of the Asian Tour.
Ends