Martin edges in front at the Asia-Pacific Classic

Thu 17 May 2018

Martin edges in front at the Asia-Pacific Classic

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Henan, China, May 17: Andrew Martin of Australia shot an opening six-under-par 66 to top a congested leaderboard at the US$300,000 Asia-Pacific Classic on Thursday.

The 33-year-old had a commendable front nine, carding four birdies against a lone bogey before turning in 32. Martin scored two more birdies before signing for a 66 for a one-shot lead at the St Andrews Golf Club in Henan, China.  

Martin, as well as, the leading golfers after the first round, took advantage of the calm weather conditions and soft greens to card low scores.

Honey Baisoya of India, Koh Deng Shan of Singapore and Liu Yanwei of China are among of a group of 11 players with matching 67s to share second place at the tournament, co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the China Golf Association (CGA).

Baisoya, who won back-to-back domestic titles recently, is continuing his excellent form at the Asia-Pacific Classic. He had a near flawless round, carding six birdies against a lone bogey. Baisoya had an outstanding back nine, highlighted by the four consecutive birdies he made from holes 12 to 15. 

Koh attributed his brilliant round to his good reading of the greens. The Singaporean has also been accurate with his shots, missing only two fairways and greens on Thursday. He will be sticking to his game plan of trying to keep his ball in play in the subsequent rounds.

Local favourite Liu used his prior knowledge of the golf course to his advantage as he carded a 67 to stay one shot off the lead. He ended his round with a bogey at the ninth hole but remains patient and optimistic of a good performance on home soil.

The Asia-Pacific Classic the Asian Tour’s second stop in China this year. The tournament is promoted and operated by Beijing based promoter CGD (Beijing) Sports Industry Co., Ltd (CGDs).

Did you know:

  • Andrew Martin earned his Asian Tour card for 2018 by finishing tied-20th at the Qualifying School early this year. He is one of the golfers inside the top-35 and ties.

  • He hit 10 out of 14 fairways as well as 15 out of 18 greens and took 27 putts in the first round.

  • He participated in five tournaments on the Asian Tour and the PGA Tour of Australasia in 2018, missing the cut only once.

  • Martin's best finish on the Asian Tour so far is tied-eighth at the 2017 Indonesian Open. He carded a 12-under-par 276.

  • Honey Baisoya was tied-sixth in Bangladesh last week, which was his second-highest finish on the Asian Tour. He was fifth at the 2016 Panasonic Open India.

  • He won back-to-back events on the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) in April this year.

  • Koh Deng Shan turned professional in 2011 after winning the Warren Amateur Open, a leading amateur tournament in Singapore. 

  • He came close to winning his maiden Asian Development Tour title in 2014 when he finished second in Langkawi, Malaysia. 

  • Liu Yanwei achieved his highest-ever finish on the Asian Tour in Xiamen last year. He was third, just a shot behind the eventual champion, Xiao Bowen.

  • He has a fairly consistent season on the Asian Tour so far, missing the cut only once in four starts.

  • Liu was born in Beijing and is based in Shenzhen. He is the seventh best Chinese golfer on the current Official World Golf Ranking list.

  • Apart from Martin, Jack Harrison, Jack Wilson and Josh Younger, who have all finished the round five-under-par, are also graduates from this year's Asian Tour Qualifying School. 

Players’ Quotes

Andrew Martin (Aus) – First round 66 (-6)

The round was out there for the taking actually. It wasn’t windy and the greens were quite soft. I think I’m pretty happy with myself, on how I played the course. I hit some bad shots, but I managed to get away with them. So overall, yes, I’m very happy with my opening round.

There wasn’t a particular that stood out for me. I played solidly the whole day and hit plenty of fairways and greens. I was hitting it quite close early in my round. In my back nine, I drove a few shots into the rough which made it a little bit harder. But overall, I thought I had quite a solid round.

The calm conditions helped, and the soft greens allowed me to attack the pin, but you still have to hit it well and hole the putts.

I’m going to stick to my game plan. I’m not overly long compared to the other guys. I’m going to rest, as it is getting a bit humid here. After a visit to the physio, I’ll be heading back and relax for the afternoon.

Honey Baisoya (Ind) – First round 67 (-5)

I’m feeling great about the tournament. I was quite frustrated in the beginning, as I was one-over-par after three holes. I missed a short putt on the second hole. Then, I hit my tee shot into the hazard at the third hole and made a good bogey. At that point, I gave myself a target of five-under-par, so I’m happy to have achieved that.

It was a good bogey because I managed to find my ball in the left hazard. I chipped it out but missed the green from there, about 125 yards. I got the ball to around five feet. The putt caught the hole and it just went in.

Then at the fourth hole, I made a par when I could have easily bogeyed it. After the birdie on the fifth hole, everything came into place. I’m feeling great going into round two as I have a good score. If I play well again tomorrow, then I can surely get into contention.

Jack Harrison (Eng) – First round 67 (-5)

It was a pretty solid round for me. I gave myself a lot of chances, but I didn’t convert all of them. It was a decent start nevertheless and I’m happy with the round.

My round got going after I birdied the 16th and 17th. Those were good putts there and it gave me a bit of confidence going into the front nine holes, which was my back nine. I birdied the first and second hole and I was four-under-par at that point. I coasted home after that.

The conditions were perfect. There was no wind and the course is soft. It’s not too hot this morning, which was nice. If you can shoot four or five-under-par every round, then you’ll surely have a chance of winning it. So, I’ll just try to do that for the rest of the week.

Koh Deng Shan (Sgp) – First round 67 (-5)

The conditions are very good today, and the greens are soft. I hit the ball well and gave myself lots of chances for birdie. I hit my irons good today and I made quite a few long putts as well; a few 15, 20-footers for birdies at the 10th and 16th, also at the par-three fourth hole. The greens are different here compared to what I’m used to back in Southeast Asia. If you just go with the slope, you should be able to read the greens right.

It’ll be a different day tomorrow. I’ll just stick to my game plan and focus on every shot. I’ll aim to keep my ball in play. The fairways aren’t narrow, but you need to hit them. If the ball lands in the rough, you may get a flyer to the green.

Liu Yanwei (Chn) – First round 67 (-5)

I played really solidly today. The conditions were calm, which surprised me pleasantly. I took advantage of it and I’m happy to put in a good round.

The 9th pin (where he bogeyed) was at the back today, which made the second shot, and the hole slightly longer. There was headwind as well. I hit my five-iron for my second shot and I missed it slightly to the right. It was still a good shot as it was an awkward lie with the ball above my feet. I hit a good chip but the subsequent putt didn’t go in. I’m a bit disappointed but it is what it is. It’s a four-round tournament so there’s still plenty of golf to play. I’m just going to take it one shot at a time.

I’ve played here three times previously. It’s a straightforward course but having prior experience will always make a difference.

The collaboration between the CGA and the Asian Tour is great as it gives players from both sides more opportunities to play. I think it’s great and hopefully, we can have even more events in China this year.

Pannakorn Uthaipas (Tha) – First round 67 (-5)

Today, I drove well, hit my second shots well, but, I missed a lot of putts even though I gave myself a lot of chances for birdies. But, that’s fine. It’s good. Everything’s good.

The conditions were very nice. It was not hot, not cold, and there was no wind. The course is nice as well! Hole eight stood out for me. I had a long putt on the par-three hole for birdie.

I’m just going to play my own game tomorrow, as always. Compared to my previous tournaments, I’ve hit my second shots better. So, if my putts go in, then my scores will naturally be good.

Jack Wilson (Aus) – First round 67 (-5)

I was still adjusting to being in a new country before the start of the round, so it was good to get things going. I birdied the par-five and made a good save on hole four. I holed out for eagle on six and from then on, things were pretty easy. I birdied 10. I hit it five feet on 12, six feet on 13, 10 feet on 14 but didn’t make any of them. I also missed a short putt on 15. It was a bit deflating, but it’s good to get a good number on the board.

It was very easy out there on the golf course. But, you still got to hit it well. Ball striking has always been my strength and if I can get my putter working, then it should be a good week.

My decision making has been good today. I didn’t attack flags when I was out of position and I attacked the flag when I was in good positions. I kept myself level-headed on most parts.

Leading Scores after round 1 of the Asia-Pacific Classic being played at the par 72, 7261 Yards St. Andrews (Zhengzhou) Golf Club course (am - denotes amateur):
66 - Andrew MARTIN (AUS).
67 - Jack WILSON (AUS), Honey BAISOYA (IND), Jack HARRISON (ENG), Pannakorn UTHAIPAS (THA), Callum TARREN (ENG), LIU Yanwei (CHN), YANG Yinong (CHN), Josh YOUNGER (AUS), KOH Deng Shan (SIN), Natipong SRITHONG (THA), Danthai BOONMA (THA).
68 - Miguel CARBALLO (ARG), Prom MEESAWAT (THA), Shohei HASEGAWA (JPN), Gareth PADDISON (NZL), John CATLIN (USA).
69 - Quincy QUEK (SIN), Ben CAMPBELL (NZL), Chanachok DEJPIRATANAMONGKOL (THA), Kevin LEE (KOR), Charlie SAXON (USA), Suteepat PRATEEPTIENCHAI (THA), WANG Wei-lun (TPE).
70 - XIAO Bowen (CHN), ZHANG Huilin (CHN), Taewoo KIM #1087 (KOR), WU Tuxuan (CHN), LIU Chun (CHN), Chirat JIRASUWAN (THA), Adam BLYTH (AUS), Justin SHIN (CAN), Namchok TANTIPOKHAKUL (THA).
71 - Udorn DUANGDECHA (THA), WU Hongfu (CHN), Bryden MACPHERSON (AUS), CHEN Dinggen (CHN), Suradit YONGCHAROENCHAI (THA), FAN Shiyu (CHN), Chapchai NIRAT (THA), Steven JEFFRESS (AUS), Shotaro BAN (USA), Niall TURNER (IRL), HSU Hao-sheng (TPE), Michael CHOI (AUS), Piya SWANGARUNPORN (THA), LUO Xuewen (CHN), Yuto SOEDA (JPN), Poom SAKSANSIN (THA), Matt STIEGER (AUS), LIN Wen-tang (TPE), HUANG Wenyi (CHN), HUANG Chi (TPE), HAK Shun-Yat (HKG), Pawin INGKHAPRADIT (THA), Pasavee LERTVILAI (THA).
72 - CHEN Zihao (CHN), WANG Tsung-chieh (TPE), Itthipat BURANATANYARAT (THA), Chikkarangappa S. (IND), Javier GALLEGOS (ESP), Michael SKELTON (ENG), LU Wei-chih (TPE), Mitchell SLORACH (SIN), HUNG Chien-yao (TPE), Tirawat KAEWSIRIBANDIT (THA), Dino A. GIACOMAZZI (USA), Jeffrey KANG (USA), Matthew PERRY (NZL), LIU Zehao (CHN), LIANG Enqi (am, CHN), Ryann REE (USA), Siddikur RAHMAN (BAN), Todd BAEK (KOR), ZHI Shang (CHN), ZHUANG Zhu (CHN).

Ends.

About 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), Panasonic (Official Consumer Electronics), Habitat for Humanity (Official Sustainable Development Partner), ECCO (Official Footwear Sponsor), Titleist and FootJoy (Official Web Partner), Bloomberg TV (Official International Media Partner), Bloomberg Businessweek Chinese (Official International Media Partner), Wall Street Journal (Official International Media Partner) and Sentosa in Singapore which is the Home of the Asian Tour which also has an office in Kuala Lumpur.