HONG KONG — Asian Tour common Phachara Khongwatmai upstaged early starters Cameron Smith and Bae Sang-Moon with a scorching 10-birdie 63 to take a one-shot lead on the midway stage of the Hong Kong Open on Friday.
The 22-year-old Thai bagged 4 birdies on the way in which out and 6 on the again 9 which, blended with three bogeys, despatched him high of the leaderboard on 12-under-par for the event.
Australian Smith backed up his opening 63 with a four-under 66 to share second place with South Korean Bae (63), who received twice on the U.S. PGA Tour earlier than two years of nationwide navy service interrupted his profession.
“Early alarm this morning, the physique fairly wasn’t working,” stated Smith, who received his first main ultimately yr’s British Open.
“It was a bit scrappy to be sincere, it was good to get out of there three or 4 beneath par. Hopefully I can maintain bettering.”
Bae made an excellent begin on the composite Fanling course, birdying the second gap earlier than arising with an eagle on the par-five third.
“It was actually good,” stated the 37-year-old, who pulled out this week’s PGA Tour occasion in Bermuda to return to Asia and play.
“I am looking for my sport, the placing’s good, the iron shot’s good so I am actually wanting ahead to taking part in this weekend.”
Australian Wade Ormsby, who received the event for the second time when it was final performed practically 4 years in the past earlier than a COVID-enforced hiatus, missed the reduce after capturing a one-over 71.