Two-time Asian Tour winner Chan Yih-shin reveled in delight on home soil when he fired a four-under-par 67 to share the opening round lead with England’s Grant Jackson, Thailand’s Pasamet Pogamnerd and Nils Floren of Sweden at the 15th ADT Chang Hwa Open on Thursday.
The leading quadruplet established a one-shot lead over South African Mathiam Keyser, Poosit Supupramai of Thailand and local veteran Wang Ter-chang who settled for a share of fifth place at the US$100,000 Asian Development Tour (ADT) event.
American James Moseley and Chinese Taipei’s Hsieh Chi-hsien stayed a further shot back in tied-eighth position after posting matching 69s at the Chang Hwa Golf Club.
A host of nine players, including three-time ADT winner Pavit Tangkamolprasert of Thailand, compatriot Wisut Artjanawat and Malaysia’s Arie Irawan, carded identical 70s to share 10th place at the Chang Hwa Open, which is returning to the ADT schedule for the second straight year this season.
Chan, who rose to prominence when he claimed his first Asian Tour title at the 2009 King’s Cup, was excited about his prospects this week after getting off to a good start.
“I have been playing well lately so I’m just trying to ride on the good form. I played really solid today and I am very happy with my round. I think I got lucky too. My putting got better on the back nine,” said the 37-year-old.
Chan, who started from the first tee, amassed 29 putts in total and only 12 on his back nine. He added: “You need to stay really calm and focused out there. You are bound to make some mistakes given the windy conditions out there so it’s really important to stay composed.”
Floren, placed eighth on the current Order of Merit, was equally impressive as he continued his love affair with Chinese Taipei. He had earlier marked his best result this season when he finished tied-second at the Ballantine’s Taiwan Championship held in August.
“The course is pretty tricky and it’s not easy with the winds blowing out there. You have to try and keep the ball on the greens. I played pretty solid today. Hopefully I can keep it up over the next few rounds,” said the 25-year-old Swede.
Both Jackson and Pasamet credited their hot putters for the impressive rounds which put them in the lead today.
“I kind of got into the momentum after making the birdie on the first hole. I struggled from tee to green on my back nine but I managed to pull it together whenever I needed to and I had some pretty good par saves. I guess it was my putting which saved me today,” said Jackson, who sits in 10th place on the current Order of Merit.
Pasamet, who traded seven birdies against three bogeys, said: “I putted really well. It wasn’t so windy when I played in the morning so it was a bit of an advantage for me. You have to control the ball well and try to hit as many fairways and greens as possible to score. This is not an easy course so I’m happy with how I played today.”
The Chang Hwa Open is the ADT’s third and final stop in Chinese Taipei this season, following the successful staging of the Taifong Open and Ballantine’s Taiwan Championship in July and August respectively.
Since its inauguration in 2010, the ADT has grown from five events in the first year to a record 21 tournaments in 2014. The top-five finishers on the Order of Merit at the end of the season will earn Asian Tour cards for 2015.
All ADT events also receive Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) status which is a boost for the game in the region.
For more information on the ADT, please visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com.
Leading first round scores:
67 – Grant JACKSON (ENG), Nils FLOREN (SWE), Pasamet POGAMNERD (THA), CHAN Yih-shin (TPE)
68 – Poosit SUPUPRAMAI (THA), WANG Ter-chang (TPE), Mathiam KEYSER (RSA)
69 – James MOSELEY (USA), HSIEH Chi-hsien (TPE)
70 – Arie IRAWAN (MAS), Panawat MUENLEK (THA), Wolmer MURILLO (VEN), LIN Chien-bing (TPE), Wisut ARTJANAWAT (THA), Darren TAN (AUS), YU Chun-an (A) (TPE), Pavit TANGKAMOLPRASERT (THA), YEH Chang-ting (TPE)