California-based Korean Han Lee took a giant stride towards a place in the US$2 million Volvo China Open with a five-under-par 67 in the opening round of the international qualifying competition at the Discovery Bay Golf Club yesterday.
The 29-year-old Asian Tour rookie leads by one shot over Englishman Andrew Butterfield, a European Tour regular. A further shot back are Tsai Chi-huang and Pan Cheng-tsung, both from Taiwan, and Hong Kong-based Australian Grant Gibson, who is the teaching pro at Clearwater Bay.
Han made light of the misty, cold and windy conditions to record five birdies and an eagle on the 6,689-yard par-72 course. 'I arrived at about one o'clock this morning from the Singapore Masters and had to get up very early to get across town to the course,' said Han. 'It was great to get in a good round straight off, but there's a quality field here so I know I'll have to be under par tomorrow to give myself any chance of winning a place.' The leading four scores over the two rounds will qualify for next month's Volvo China Open at Shanghai Silport Golf Club.
Leading Hong Kong golfer James Stewart finished with a 70, while Fanling teaching pro David Freeman shot 71.