American Alex Kang carded a bogey-free six-under-par 64 to claim the first round lead at the PGA Tour China Series Clearwater Bay Open, with Chinese pair Wu Hongfu and Yuan Tian leading the chasing pack a shot off the pace.
This season’s Cadillac Championship winner Kang, who is currently fourth on the order of merit, never looked back after claiming a birdie at his first hole of the day and posted five further gains during a flawless 18 holes at Clearwater Bay Golf Country Club.
Wu also carded six birdies but a solitary bogey left him a shot off the pace alongside compatriot Yuan who eagled the par five fifth en route to his 66.
“I putted really well today. I rolled in a lot of 10-15 footers, I didn’t really make any long ones, but I also didn’t miss anything inside of 10 feet,” said Kang.
“I think to play well out here you have to putt well because the pin positions are a little tough and it will be hard to get it close. I did well today and hopefully I do the same for the rest of the week.”
Early pacesetters Michael Skleton, Zhang Xinjun and Kim Tae-woo were later joined at four-under by David McKenzie, Lee Jung-hwan and Lee Ho-soo.
Kim Tae-woo, Michael Shelton Zhang Xinjun set first round pace at PGA Tour China Series Clearwater Bay Open
Hong Kong number one Jason Hak Shun-yat birdied the last hole of his opening round to salvage a level par 70 having shipped a triple bogey seven at the par four 13th following a wayward drive.
“It was a good round, but just one bad hole or a couple of bad shots, but that’s golf,” said Hak.
“You try to minimise your mistakes and I guess I didn’t do too well with that on 13, but generally I hit a lot of great shots and had a lot of great putts.
“Even though they didn’t go in they were still great putts and I am just looking forward to tomorrow and take what I can out of today.”