Korea’s Lee Chang-woo continued his recent run of fine form to take the early lead on day one of the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship at Nanshan International Golf Club in Shandong Province, China.
Twenty-year-old Lee, who finished alongside Rory McIlroy in a tie for second at last week’s Korean Open, carded a 1-under 70 in cool and windy conditions to establish a one-shot advantage over the rest of the early morning starters.
Beginning his round on the more difficult back nine, Lee bogeyed the 13th before bouncing back in fine fashion with birdies at the first and fifth.
“I’m pretty much happy with my score because I was in some dangerous situations where I had to make a few six- and seven-foot putts for par,” said Lee, No. 31 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. “The course is long and it was very windy … it was a good score in the circumstances.”
World number nine, Brady Watt, was another who was satisfied with his round. The Australian, who also started at the 10th, got off to a rough start with two bogeys in his opening four holes. But an eagle at the par-five 15th followed by a blemish-free front nine, which included a birdie at the fifth, gave Watt a level-par 71.
“It was definitely a battle out there today,” declared Watt, who reached the semi-finals of this year’s U.S. Amateur Championship. “The scoring was a lot tougher and I just hung around and made a lot of pars. 71 was about right.”
It was a challenge for Watt’s playing partner, defending champion Guan Tianlang. After reaching the turn at 1-under 34, the 14-year-old bogeyed the third hole then carded a costly double bogey at the seventh, where he found a hazard with his tee shot. Another bogey at the ninth added up to a 3-over 74.
“I felt like I played okay,” remarked Guan. “I missed a few chances but overall I’m quite happy. I have the confidence to go out and shoot a better score tomorrow.”