South Korea’s Kim Tae-woo and England’s Michael Skelton eagled the 18th to claim a share of the clubhouse lead midway through the first round of the PGA Tour China Series Clearwater Bay Open at four-under-par alongside China’s Zhang Xinjun.
Kim, who has already won on the circuit this year after capturing the Ping An Private Bank Wanda Open in July, carded six birdies at Clearwater Bay Golf Country Club to earn his place at the top of the leaderboard.
Skelton had started with three bogeys over the first four holes, but a first eagle of the day at the fifth rescued his round before three consecutive birdies before the turn sealed the recovery.
“I putted fantastic, that was the basis for my round. I was three-over through four holes after we started the morning with the wind howling,” said Skelton after a round that contained a total of five birdies along with his two eagles.
“I could have easily been five over-par after I lost two balls in the first three holes. I holed a couple of nice putts to save bogeys and then I made eagle after putting a three iron to three feet up the fifth and then I didn’t really look back.”
Zhang, fresh from a solid display at last week’s WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, made five birdies in seven holes either side of the turn although a bogey at the 17th denied him the outright clubhouse lead.
“The wind in this morning was very strong, especially the first five holes, so you should tee off precisely,” said Zhang.
“And the biggest challenge is the greens, if you meet the downhill and the clockwise grass, it will be very fast.”
The trio are a shot clear of New Zealand’s Daniel Pearce, China’s Li Jianshan and Italy’s Cristiano Terragni.