Oct 26, 2017: Malaysia’s Gavin Green and Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat fired matching seven-under-par 65s to stay one shot back of American Brooks Koepka who leads with his 64 after the first round of the WGC-HSBC Champions on Thursday.
The Asian duo had earlier shared the clubhouse lead until Koepka stormed home with two birdies in his closing three holes to take the opening day honours at the Sheshan International Golf Club.
Like his first round efforts in Korea last week, Green found himself in another similar position on the leaderboard again. While he fell out of contention after that, the current Asian Tour Order of Merit leader is hopeful of doing better this week.
Kiradech was two birdies shy of equaling the most consecutive number of birdies made in a round after he went on a birdie blitz starting from the par-four 16.
The 2013 Asian Tour Order of Merit leader, who started on the back-nine 10, fired a hat-trick of birdies from 16. He went further ahead with four more birdies on the trot after the turn before a bogey-five on hole five stopped his charge.
Defending champion Hideki Matsuyama of Japan had a round to forget after he posted a 74 to end the day in tied-67th place while China’s Wu Ashun emerged as the leading Chinese in tied-sixth place after he returned with a 67.
Did you know?
- World number 11 Brooks Koepka won his first Major at the U.S. Open this year and lifted his first PGA TOUR title at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in 2015.
- Koepka is making his second appearance at the WGC-HSBC Champions. He finished in tied-40th place last year.
- Kiradech Aphibarnrat earned his place at WGC-HSBC Champions as one of the top-30 players from the European Tour’s 2017 Race to Dubai rankings
- Kiradech narrowly missed out on his second win on European soil when he finished tied-second in Italy a fortnight ago.
- Gavin Green is making his first appearance at a World Golf Championship. He is in the field due to his standing on the Asian Tour Order of Merit where he is currently leading.
- Green is among the four players who enjoyed a bogey-free opening round. The others are Patrick Reed (66), Wu Ashun (67) and Matt Kuchar (67).
- Green won the Mercuries Taiwan Masters for his first Asian Tour title earlier this month and his career breakthrough came two weeks after he had finished runner-up for the third time this season in Korea.
- Green was the first amateur to win on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) in 2014.
- The Malaysian finished second on the 2016 Asian Development Tour Order of Merit to earn his Asian Tour card for 2017. He also represented his country at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro alongside Danny Chia, a two-time Asian Tour winner, where he finished where he finished 47th.