Oh and Flint Share Lead

Thu 30 Jul 2009

Oh and Flint Share Lead

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Bandar Seri Begawan, July 30: Korea?s Ted Oh remained on course for his career breakthrough on the Asian Tour after taking the opening round lead with Australian Gavin Flint at the Brunei Open 2009 on Thursday.
The Californian-based Korean posted a seven-under-par 64 to share the lead with Flint who also returned with a 64, while veterans Boonchu Ruangkit of Thailand and Chinese Taipei?s Lu Chien-soon rolled back the years with matching 65s to take a share of third place with Singapore?s Mardan Mamat.
Oh who has targeted this week?s US$300,000 full field Asian Tour event for his first win on the Asian Tour is confident of achieving that after his early morning finish.
The 32-year-old is enjoying a welcome return to form, having finished in second and fourth in his last two events on the Asian Tour.
?I?m playing good and I?m giving myself a lot of birdie chances out there. I could have played a little bit better on hole two and especially hole four, where it was such an easy putt, being only four foot away,? said Oh.
While the Korean was left to rue those easy birdie chances that could have seen him take the outright lead at the Empire Hotel and Country Club, he believes he will be ready to make up for those missed chances as the week progresses.
?I feel I can do better. I?m doing well on those tough ones but I?m letting those easy ones slip by. But I?m sure it?ll get better,? said Oh.
Meanwhile Flint was pleasantly surprised with his good form after carding a blemish-free round that was highlighted by seven birdies.
?I haven?t been playing too well so today was a little bit of a shock. But I?m very happy to have put a good one on the board,? said Flint whose best finish of the season was a tied-11th place at the season-opening Asian Tour International.
?I played well today. I hit the ball better and I putted well. I just want to stay consistent and hopefully have more birdies,? added the Australian.
Boonchu proved that age is no barrier to success with a sparking performance despite nursing a hand injury.
?My palm was hurting a little when I started practicing today. Fortunately the greens were soft and I didn?t have to exert too much strength when putting,? said the Thai.
The 53-year-old fired a total of seven birdies against a lone bogey on the 220-yard par three seventh to stake a place among the leaders at the Jack Nicklaus-designed Empire course.
?It?s always nice to be among the early leaders. But after playing golf for so long, anything can happen and you just have to stay patient,? said Boonchu who is well respected in Thailand and across the region for his golf exploits where he has won five times on the Asian Tour throughout his illustrious career.
Fellow veteran Lu, a multiple winner of national Opens in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, India and a former OOM winner of the old Asian Tour in the 1980s, also produced a performance that defies his age
The 49-year-old marked his card with five birdies in his opening front-nine and another one on the par-five 12th in his inward nine.
?Simply unbelievable that I played so well today! I haven?t been playing much as I?ve been getting frequent backaches due to my age. But an opening result like this is always good,? said Lu.
Mardan, seeking his third victory on the Asian Tour, also got his campaign at the sultanate off to a strong start with seven birdies against a lone bogey on the par-five 15th.
?I?ve been striking my ball very well and most of my iron shots landed close to the pins. Those kinds of shots can really put you in an advantageous position,? said the Singaporean and two-time Asian Tour winner.
Defending champion Rick Kulacz of Australia posted a 70 to take a share of 52nd place.
?I hit some really good shots but just couldn?t convert the putts today. I felt like I probably left a couple of missed chances out there. But I?m happy with my one-under score today. It?s not too far behind and I?ll try to put a low score in tomorrow morning,? said Kulacz.
Brunei Shell Petroleum will title sponsor the Brunei Open while other partners include Brunei Tourism, under the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, The Empire Hotel and Country Club, the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, Brunei Darussalam Golf Association, Cross Creek and Srixon.
Leading first round scores
64 - Ted Oh (KOR), Gavin Flint (AUS)
65 - Boonchu Ruangkit (THA), Lu Chien-Soon (TPE), Mardan Mamat (SIN)
66 - David Gleeson (AUS), Scott Barr (AUS), Jason Norris (AUS), Steven Tiley (ENG), Son Joon-eob (KOR)
67 - Mo Joong-kyung (KOR), Anirban Lahiri (IND), Choengchai Panpumpo (THA), Shaaban Hussin (MAS), Chris Rodgers (ENG), Gaganjeet Bhullar (IND), Sattaya Supupramai (THA), Wisut Artjanawat (THA)
68 - Lin Wen-hong (TPE), Siddikur   (BAN), Juvic Pagunsan (PHI), Thaworn Wiratchant (THA), Rohan Blizard (AUS), Piya Swangarunporn (THA), Marcus Both (AUS), Gaurav Ghei (IND), Jerome Delariarte (PHI), S. Siva Chandhran (MAS), Masaki Sakata (JPN)
Ends.
About the Brunei Open 2009
The Brunei Open is celebrating its fifth anniversary following its historic launch in 2005. The Championship is organised by Brunei Tourism under the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources and the Ministry of Youth and Sports and will once again be staged at the award-winning The Empire Hotel and Country Club, Asia?s Ultimate Golf, Spa & Family Beach Resort which is a signature Jack Nicklaus course. The Brunei Open 2009 sponsors are Brunei Shell Petroleum Sdn Bhd (Title Sponsor); The Empire Hotel and Country Club (Host Venue and Official Hotel), Srixon (Official Ball), Cross Creek (Official Apparel), CityNeon (Official Contractor), Ricoh (Official Office Solutions), Cleveland and 100Plus. The Brunei Open is sanctioned by the Asian Tour, which is the governing body for professional tournament golf in Asia and locally by the Brunei Darussalam Golf Association.
About Brunei Tourism
Brunei Darussalam, a peaceful and wealthy kingdom on the northern shores of Borneo, is known for having one of the most pristine tropical rainforest environments anywhere, as well as for the pomp and opulence of its centuries old monarchy, steeped in ancient Malay traditions. With easy international direct access through its Royal Brunei Airlines carrier and other regional airlines, and with an up-market product and image appealing to discerning travellers, Brunei is an exciting and safe new destination waiting to be discovered. For more information on Brunei please visit www.bruneitourism.travel
About Brunei Shell Petroleum
Brunei Shell Petroleum Co Sdn Bhd (BSP), a dynamic, world-class company and one of the biggest energy companies in Asia, have a long standing history in Brunei of more than 75 years and are at the leading edge of energy technology putting the safety and environment at the heart of everything and invests in the people and community of Brunei.
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 ESPN Star Sports (Official Regional TV Broadcaster), Pin High (Official Apparel Partner), Ricoh (Official Office Solutions Provider) and Srixon (Official Ball). Sentosa, Singapore?s premier island resort getaway, is the Home of the Asian Tour.