Han upstages Aussie stars
Korean Min-Kyu Han has upstaged a host of home stars with an opening 9-under 62 at the Australian PGA Championship.
Korean Min-Kyu Han upstaged a host of home favourites, including last weeks Australian Open winner Adam Scott, with a nine-under-par 62 in the opening round of the Australian PGA Championship at Coolum on Thursday.
So dominant was Han’s performance in the morning that Australian Ryan Haller, the best of the rest, was on five under, while his countrymen Stuart Appleby, Matt Griffin, Scott Strange, Andrew Dodt and Henry Epstein who shared third place were five shots off the pace on four-under.
Scott threatened to shoot a low score, particularly when he collected four birdies heading to the turn, but a mixed run home left him alongside fellow Aussies Greg Chalmers, Stephen Dartnall and Bronson La’Cassie, Kiwi Tim Wilkinson and Shih-ching Chan of Chinese Taipei with 68 and six shots behind the unheralded runaway leader.
Paul Marantz, Aaron Townsend and Jason Norris are at minus-two thanks to 69s while defending champion Geoff Ogilvy, 2006 winner Nick O’Hern, triple champion Robert Allenby and Jarrod Lyle are among those tied for 17th on one-under.
At 25 and making just his second trip to Australia, the first time as a professional, Han collected 11 birdiesand needed just 21 putts to complete a stunning round marred by back-to-back bogeys at the 18th and the first .
Rated a 1000-1 shot coming in, Han exploded out of the blocks with birdies at his first four holes after setting off from the 10th, and further birdies at 16 and 17 took him two clear at minus-six.
He then found trouble with his only blemishes of the day to drop back into a share of the lead with Griffin but another run of five birdies in six holes, including four on the trot from the fourth, took him well clear.
“I feel like almost in heaven,” Han said after his amazing round.
“It’s not easy (out there), it is a very good course.
“Maybe I’m like Tiger Woods today.”
Haller, who missed a Japanese Tour card for 2010 a fortnight ago by just a shot after closing with a pair of double-bogeys, recovered from a dropped shot at the first to post six birdies.
Having finally broken through for his maiden win at last weekend’s Australian Open, Scott could have maintained his good run but a mixed front nine that included three bogeys prevented him finishing much closer to Han.
“I got off to a great start and just didn’t keep it going,” Scott said.
“Like everyone I’ve only played those new holes a couple of times and I ran into some problems there so I may need to rethink my strategies on them over the next couple of days and maybe not be quite as aggressive.
“I felt like I could have had a much better round but it’s okay, it’s a solid start and something to build on.”
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