Hiratsuka Sets Early Pace

Thu 05 Feb 2009

Hiratsuka Sets Early Pace

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Bangkok, February 5: Japan?s Tetsuji Hiratsuka blasted a seven-under-par 64 to take the early morning lead at the season-opening Asian Tour International on Thursday.
Singapore-based Australian Unho Park and India?s Rahil Gangjee are both a single shot behind the Japanese in tied-second place after posting matching 65s.
Japan?s Kodai Ichihara, Korea?s Mo Joong-kyung and India?s Gaganjeet Bhullar are all trailing closely behind in tied-fourth place on 66.
Hiratsuka began his title charge at the US$300,000 full-field Asian Tour event with a flawless display of golf when he fired five birdies and an eagle two at the 439-yard par four, 16th.
The Japanese was simply at the top of his game despite the hot and humid conditions at the Suwan Golf and Country Club.
?It was really hot out there today but I?m happy to be playing well at the moment. My swing and putting were all working and if I can maintain this form, I?ll stand a good chance of winning,? said Hiratsuka.
Singapore-based Australian Park was also a visibly happy man when he returned to the clubhouse after carding a blemish free round that was highlighted by six birdies.
?I made some swing changes after talking to Andrew Welsford who?s also Chih Bing?s coach. We worked through my swing and although it?s still a little uncomfortable at the moment, I?m getting away with it with some good shots? said Park.
?I don?t really feel 100% yet, but I?m pleased with the way things are going now,? added the Australian.
Meanwhile, Bhullar who finished right at the cut-line at 65th place on the Asian Tour Order of Merit last season, rued his chances of taking the outright lead after committing two costly bogeys on the ninth and 18th.
?I dropped two costly shots on the finishing ninth and 18th holes. But somehow I think I?m still hitting the ball really well. However, I think it?s too early to say what?s going to happen over the next few days,? said the young Indian.
Ends.
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), Ricoh (Official Office Solutions Provider), Sofitel (Official Hotel), TIME and FORTUNE (Corporate Partner) and Srixon (Official Ball). Sentosa, Singapore?s premier island resort getaway, is the Home of the Asian Tour.
For further information, please contact Asian Tour?s Calvin Koh at the Asian Tour International?s media center, tel: +66 34 339 333 ext. 315.