Fox Flexes Muscles

Thu 02 Feb 2012

Fox Flexes Muscles

Yangon, February 2: Ben Fox of the United States reaped the benefits of extra hours put in the gym when he shot a sparkling eight-under-par 64 to share the first round lead at the Zaykabar Myanmar Open presented by Air Bagan on Thursday.

Fox fired a flawless round with eight birdies that was matched by Australians Scott Hend, who has won once on the Asian Tour and former European Tour and Nationwide Tour player Wade Ormsby at the Royal Mingalardon Golf and Country Club.

Chinnarat Phadungsil of Thailand, a three-time Asian Tour winner, was a further shot back with Asian Tour graduate Kim Gi-whan of Korea in the US$300,000 event, returning on the Asian Tour schedule after a one-year lapse.

Fox, who is searching for his first Asian Tour victory, credited the hard work in the gym during the off-season for his fast start.

“I worked hard in the off-season. I don’t like working out during the season but during the break I was hitting it hard in the gym and on the practice range. I tried to get a little bit stronger in the gym and it is showing because I’m hitting it 10 or 15 yards further this year,” said the 24-year-old.

Playing in his third year on the Asian Tour, Fox made a 25-feet chip-in birdie from the edge of the seventh hole to tie for the lead.

“It was one of my goals coming into the year to get off to a good start more frequently. It is nice to kind of done that in the first week. Obviously, you just don’t plan on shooting eight-under but it was a nice round. I got off to a good start and just kept it going,” said Fox, who missed only two greens in regulation today.

Hend, who is among 15 Australians in the field this week, predicts a low scoring week as he aims to end a three-year title drought.

“I hit good shots and holed my putts. I missed a couple but you can’t complain when you shoot an eight-under. This is the first round of the year and this is a nice round to put away because it is going to be a low score that wins the tournament. To put eight birdies out of the way, I’m probably going to need another 12 birdies in the next three days,” said Hend, winner of the of the 2008 Pertamina Indonesia President Invitational.

Like his co-leaders, Ormsby was also bogey-free in a round which he described as boring. He earned his Asian Tour card at Qualifying School this year and hopes to get his career back on track after losing playing status in Europe.


“I just kept giving myself chances. I had a bit of run on 15, 16 and 17. It was pretty boring golf actually but managed to hole the putts,” said Ormsby.

“Asia is good. I played a lot out here through the co-sanctioned events previously. Asia is a lot closer to Australia so it makes it feel a little bit like half an Australian Tour! It is nice Tour and I’m looking forward to the year,” he added.

Asian Tour rookie Kim of Korea made four straight birdies from the 14th hole but was disappointed not to share the lead after making his only blemish of the day on the ninth hole.

“That stretch of birdies was good because it gave me the confident to keep going. My putting was great. I sank all my putts inside 10 feet so that was good except on the last hole,” said the 21-year-old, who played in Japan last year.

“I wanted to play on the Asian Tour because many Koreans have tasted success here like Noh Seung-yul and K.J. Choi. I hope I can be like them,” added Kim.

Scores after round 1 of the Zaykabar Myanmar Open 2012 being played at the par 72, 7218 Yards Royal Mingalardon GCC course (a- denotes amateur):

64 - Scott HEND (AUS), Ben FOX (USA), Wade ORMSBY (AUS).

65 - Chinnarat PHADUNGSIL (THA), KIM Gi-whan (KOR).



Selected scores

69 – Tetsuji HIRATSUKA (JPN)



About the Zaykabar Myanmar Open presented by Air Bagan

The Zaykabar Myanmar Open presented by Air Bagan is a US$300,000 full field Asian Tour event which will be staged at the highly-rated Royal Mingalardon Golf & Country Club from February 2-5, 2012 and is sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the Myanmar Professional Golf Association. Myanmar’s national championship will return to the Asian Tour Schedule after a year’s lapse. It was inaugurated in 1996 and the list of champions includes illustrious names such as three-time Asian Tour Order of Merit winner Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand, countryman Boonchu Ruangkit, American Anthony Kang, South African James Kingston, Chinese Taipei’s Lin Keng-chi and Japan’s Tetsuji Hiratsuka who won the event in 2010. Sponsors include Zaykabar as the title sponsor and Air Bagan as the presenting sponsor. The other co-sponsors are A1 Construction Co. Ltd, Alpine Purified Drinking Water, Asia Metal Group of Companies, Srixon, Tiger Beer, Canon and 100Plus while the hole-in-one sponsors are the Zaykabar Group of Companies, CEO (Cost Effectiveness Oriented Group Co. Ltd) and

Aung Hein Min Co. Ltd (Sumitomo).

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 Rolex (Official Timekeeper), J.Lindeberg (Official Apparel Partner), Starwood Hotels and Resorts (Official Hotels and Resorts), Cityneon (Official Event Overlay Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Supplier), Singha Beer (Official Beer), BlackBerry (Official Smartphone and Tablet) and Srixon (Official Ball). The Asian Tour has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.