Linkou, Chinese Taipei, July 6: Little known Kao Teng of Chinese Taipei produced his career lowest round of a seven-under-par 65 to seize the opening round lead at the US$150,000 Charming Yeangder ADT on Thursday.
The 24-year-old Kao returned with a bogey-free round highlighted by seven birdies to seize a one-shot advantage over countrymen Lee Chieh-po and Yang Fei-hao, who signed for matching 66s, at the Linkou International Golf Club, a regular host venue on the premier Asian Tour.
Defending champion Pavit Tangkamolprasert of Thailand carded a flawless 67 to lie in fourth place with compatriots Tirawat Kaewsiribandit and Jakraphan Premsirigorn, as well as Steve Lewton of England in the event, which offers one of the biggest prize funds on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) schedule.
Kao, who joined the play-for-pay ranks in 2015, missed only two greens in regulation and just one fairway in his commendable round where he needed only 26 putts.
“I drove the ball very well today. My chipping was good too. I tried to hit it close with my iron shots. When I make mistakes with my irons, I was able to chip it close to the pin and make par. The holes where I hit my irons well, I could go for birdies.
“My best birdie came on my last hole 18th. I chipped it from 40 yards to about one feet and make a birdie there. I made a long putt from about 10 yards on the eighth hole as well,” said Kao, who is chasing for a maiden ADT win.
“I am very familiar with this course. The greens are pretty similar to where I practiced. Your short game has to be good to be able to score out there. I will stick to the same plan for tomorrow and continue to do what I need to do,” Kao added.
Like Kao, Lee also wielded a hot putter in just 27 strokes on the greens to sign for a superb round of one eagle and five birdies against a bogey.
“I putted well. I missed only four greens so I didn’t have to chip much. My tee shots and iron-play were good too but putting was the best for me. I putted in from long range for most of my birdies. I rolled in a 15-footer for eagle on the first too,” said the 22-year-old Lee.
Jakraphan, playing for the first time at the Linkou course, credited his new putter in the bag for a bogey-free round highlighted by five birdies.
Placed eighth on the current Order of Merit, Jakraphan is aiming to cap a strong showing at the Charming Yeangder ADT to boost his rankings as the top-five finishers at the end of the season earn graduations onto the Asian Tour in 2018.
“It was a good day for me. I changed a new putter before coming here. My tee shots were pretty accurate too. I told myself to hit as many greens as I can because it can get really tough if you need to chip around the greens,” said the 25-year-old Jakraphan, a one-time ADT winner in 2013.
For more information on the ADT, please visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com.
Leading round one scores:
65 - KAO Teng (TWN)
66 - YANG Fei-hao (TWN) , LEE Chieh-po (TWN)
67 - Jakraphan PREMSIRIGORN (THA) , Tirawat KAEWSIRIBANDIT (THA) , Pavit TANGKAMOLPRASERT (THA) , Steve LEWTON (ENG)
68 - Atthaphon SRIBOONKAEW (THA)
69 - LIU Yu-jui (TWN) , YEH Wei-tze (TWN) , Micah Lauren SHIN (USA) , HSU Hao-sheng (TWN) , Ben LEONG (MAS) , Masaru TAKAHASHI (JPN)
70 - Blake SNYDER (USA) , Michael TRAN (VIE) , Nattawat SUVAJANAKORN (THA) , Rory HIE (INA) , Johnson POH (SGP) , LIN Keng-wei (TWN) , KAO Shang-hung (TWN) , WANG Wei-lun (TWN) , Panuwat MUENLEK (THA) , George GANDRANATA (INA) , Marcus BOTH (AUS) , YEH Chang-ting (TWN)
71 - Nitithorn THIPPONG (THA) , LIEN Chi-wei (TWN) , Itthipat BURANATANYARAT (THA) , Suradit YONGCHAROENCHAI (THA) , Scott SECORD (CAN) , WANG Tsung-chieh (TWN) , Arjun PRASAD (IND) , Donlaphatchai NIYOMCHON (THA) , Gunn CHAROENKUL (THA) , Sorachut HANSAPIBAN (THA) , LIN Wen-ko (TWN) , Martin DIVE (AUS) , Pannakorn UTHAIPAS (THA) , John CATLIN (USA) , LIN Wen-tang (TWN) , Namchok TANTIPOKHAKUL (THA) , HUNG Chun-kang (TWN) , Mathiam KEYSER (RSA) , FANG Yin Jen (TWN)
About Asian Development Tour
The Asian Development Tour was launched in 2010 with the aim of creating a career pathway for professional golfers in Asia. Sanctioned by the Asian Tour, the Asian Development Tour will ultimately create a new playing platform for emerging stars from across Asia and around the world. Through the Asian Tour Qualifying School, players will qualify for the Asian Development Tour and enjoy the opportunity to hone their games and talent through a secondary circuit in Asia. Designed in the same structure as the Web.com Tour in America and European Challenge Tour, the Asian Development Tour is a stepping stone to the Asian Tour and the exciting world of international golf. The Asian Development Tour has been structured to ensure the best opportunities for its members. The leading five players on the Asian Development Tour will earn coveted Asian Tour cards for the following season, ensuring a proper career pathway for aspiring professionals. All ADT events receive Official World Golf Ranking points.