New Zealander Lee Chang-ki, 27, shot 11-under-par on the first day of the Korean Professional Golf Association (KPGA) Korean Tour’s Gunsan CC Open ($500 million purse) after qualifying on Monday.
Lee carded a bogey-free eagle and nine birdies for a course-record 11-under-par 61 in the first round at Gunsan CC Tournament Course (par-72, 7,442 yards) in Jeonbuk on Thursday.
Lee, who moved to New Zealand at the age of nine, made his professional debut on the Australian Tour.
He competed in the Korean Tour’s qualifying tournament last year, but finished tied for 51st and is currently on the waiting list.
He splits his time between Korea and Australia, often competing on the KPGA’s second-tier Srixon Tour, and has been knocking on the door of Korean Tour events through Monday qualifying, including the Honors K-Solago CC Hanjangsang Invitational last month, where he finished tied for 22nd.
Lee, who also competed in the tournament through Monday’s qualifying round, started on the first hole of the first day of the tournament with a birdie on the 9th to 12th holes.
He eagled the 16th (par-5), hitting his second shot with about 177 meters to go, and continued his birdie streak on the 17th (par-3) and 18th (par-4) to complete the course record.
“It was one of those days where everything went right, every shot and putt went well, and even when I made mistakes, they kept turning into opportunities,” said Lee. “On the 12th hole, my caddie told me I was seven under par, but I tried not to pay attention to the score. I didn’t even realize I had set a course record.”
“My goal is to maintain my top ranking so that I can get a lot of re-ranking points and play more tournaments in the second half of the season,” he said, adding, “I will play calmly and not be nervous.”
Ham Jeong-woo carded an eagle, eight birdies and two bogeys to finish second at 8-under 64, while Park Eun-shin, Kang Kyung-nam and Kwon Sung-yeol are tied for third at 7-under 65.
Amateur Jang Yubin, a member of the Hangzhou Asian Games team, shot a 5-under 67 to share 10th place with Park Sang-hyun, Kwon Oh-sang and Ok Tae-hoon.
Seung Soo Han (USA), the season’s money leader, finished the first round in a tie for 19th (4-under 68) with Bio Kim and Soon Sang Hong.
Ko Gun-taek, who became the first “multiple winner” on the Korean Tour this season when he won the previous event, the Honors K-Solago CC Hanjangsang Invitational, and amateur Jo Woo-young, an Asian Games representative, are tied for 43rd (2-under 70).
Last year’s winner Seo Yoseop and Genesis Order of Merit leader Lee Jae-kyung shot a 3-over 75 and are tied for 129th, making it urgent to make the cut. 안전카지노사이트