Udorn Off to Flying Start

Thu 01 Oct 2009

Udorn Off to Flying Start

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Taipei, October 1: Thailand?s Udorn Duangdecha began his title charge by posting a seven-under-par 65 to take the first round lead at the US$500,000 Mercuries Taiwan Masters on Thursday.
Chinese Taipei?s Chan Yih-shin spearheaded the local challenge by posting a 67 at the Taiwan Golf and Country to take second place while Australian rookie Matthew Griffin carded a 68 to take third place.
Lu Chien-soon and Tsai Chi-huang of Chinese Taipei together with Australia?s Gavin Flint are a further shot back in tied-fourth place on matching 69s.
Udorn took advantage of the benign weather conditions in the morning when he blitzed the Tamsui course with a total of five birdies and an eagle on the 460 yards par-five seven.
The 38-year-old Thai parred his opening four holes before igniting his charge with birdies on the fifth and sixth, followed by that magical eagle on the seventh.
He reached the turn in 32 before storming home in his inward-nine with birdies on the 13th, 15th and 16th.
?I was very focused on my game right from the start. I told myself that I?ve to putt well if I want to win this tournament and it worked out really well,? said the Thai who finished in tied-19th at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters last year.
?I?m very lucky that the good weather played a part in my solid play today and I hope that this luck can also stay with me throughout the week,? added Udorn
Chan meanwhile stayed on course for his maiden win on the Asian Tour by carding a blemish-free round highlighted by five birdies.
The 32-year-old delighted the home crowd gathered at the Tamsui course by reeling in birdies on the fifth, seventh, 11th 14th and 15th holes.
?I managed to hit onto the fairways for most of my shots and that was key to my good play today. I managed to save par on the ninth when I holed my putt from about 20 feet and that gave me further confidence that I would be able to do well,? said Chan.
Griffin held true to his promise of seeking early success during his rookie year on the Asian Tour when he marked his card with five birdies and a lone bogey to stake a place among the early contenders at the popular Asian Tour event.
?It was a good start and I?m really enjoyed myself out there today. The weather was good and so was my solid play. There are three more rounds to play and I hope for the best,? said the 26-year-old Australian.
Flint also kept alive his hopes of a career breakthrough on the Asian Tour when he mixed five birdies against two bogeys.
?This is my fourth year here and the greens are better than normal. I was able to make some putts today which is always good. The weather was perfect this morning. It looked like it would rain but did not and I guess I probably got lucky,? said Flint.
Home crowd favourites Lin Wen-tang and Lu Wen-teh of Chinese Taipei meanwhile returned with matching 71s to head into the second round in tied-10th place.
?It?s still an early start to the tournament and there?s still everything to play for. This is my home course and I?ll continue to bank on my familiarity with the course to catch up with the leaders tomorrow,? said defending champion Lu who lifted a record fourth Mercuries Taiwan Masters title last year
Philippines Juvic Pagunsan was forced to retire from the tournament after suffering a wrist injury.
Leading first round scores
65 - Udorn Duangdecha (THA)
67 - Chan Yih-shin (TPE)
68 - Matthew Griffin (AUS)
69 - Gavin Flint (AUS), Lu Chien-soon (TPE), Tsai Chi-huang (TPE)
70 - Lin Keng-chi (TPE), C. Muniyappa (IND), Scott Barr (AUS)
71 - Hsieh Tung-hung (TPE), Hsieh Chin-sheng (TPE), Somkiat Srisanga (THA), Tsai Ming-feng (TPE), Wisut Artjanawat (THA), Lu Wen-teh (TPE), Danny Chia (MAS), Lin Wen-tang (TPE), Kwanchai Tannin (THA)
72 - Varut Chomchalam (THA), Panuwat Muenlek (THA), Airil Rizman (MAS), Rohan Blizard (AUS), Wu Ashun (CHN), Hsu Mong-nan (TPE), Lien Lu-sen (TPE), Tseng Shi-shin (TPE)
Selected scores
73 - Anthony Kang (USA), Lin Wen-hong (TPE)
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 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.