Koepka leads Asia’s major by one


US Open champion Brooks Koepka has a one stroke lead after the opening round of the WGC-HSBC Champions on Thursday. 

The American would sign for an impressive eight under 64 around the Sheshan International Golf Course to earn a one shot lead over surprise package Gavin Green from Malaysia and Thai star Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who share second.

Conditions were perfect for low scoring, with little wind and soft greens allowing players to attack pins…and Koepka did just that. 

Starting on the back nine, Koepka rolled in three birdies and an eagle on the par five 18th to make the turn in 31.

Koepka was set back by a bizarre three-putt from close range on the third but finished strong with gains on the fourth, seventh and eighth. His birdie on the eighth was nothing short of superb, as he found the water off the tee but crunched a three wood over the back of the green and holed the putt from the fringe.

"I felt like I played really well," said the 27-year-old after the round.

"I drove it pretty well and putted extremely well except for one little hiccup. You've got to get off to a good start. Doesn't really mean much – three other days – but any time you can get off to a good start and be close to the lead or have the lead, that's what you want. Just roll into that the rest of the week."

Further down the leaderboard is South African talent Haydn Porteous, who is tied for fourth with Patrick Reed after a pair of 66s, while a host of players are tied for sixth, including Tour veterans Justin Rose and Matt Kuchar. 

Meanwhile, world number one Dustin Johnson is in the mix after his solid four under 68 that included six birdies and two bogeys shots. 

Finally, defending champion and world number four Hideki Matsuyama had a day forget, scribbling down a triple bogey seven on the third  that would lead to a two over 74.