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Liang fires record 60 for lead

October 10, 2008 09:18 IST
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China's Liang Wen-chong fired a record breaking 12-under-par 60 for a five-stroke lead in the opening round at the Hero Honda Indian Open on Thursday.

Liang, who was the 2007 Asian Tour's Order of Merit winner, surpassed the previous course record of 10-under-par 62 set by India's Shiv Kapur last year at the Delhi Golf Club.

The Zhongshan-born star also bettered the lowest 18-hole score in relation to par on the Asian Tour which was previously held by Chung Chun-hsing who shot an 11-under-par 61 in 2001. Chung's record was then matched by Chanin Puntawong in 2003 and Chapchai Nirat in 2007.

But it was Liang's magical performance that headlined the opening round thanks to an impressive 12 birdies for a comfortable five stroke lead over local favourite Jeev Milkha Singh in the US$1 million Asian Tour event.

Chinese Taipei veteran Lu Wen-teh, who won the Mercuries Taiwan Masters last month, was in tied third place after a 66 alongside Sweden's Daniel Chopra and India's Sanjay Kumar. Australia's Rick Kulacz, the 2008 Brunei Open winner, posted a 67 to lie in a tie for sixth spot together with compatriot Unho Park, Thailand's Atthaphon Prathummanee and Englishman Simon Griffiths.

Liang, who started on the back nine, enjoyed a solid start on the first nine holes with four birdies. He conquered the greens on the way home firing eight more birdies that included birdies on the last five holes.

"Everything worked well today, it was a good round.  My coach Kel (Llewellyn) provided me with proper guidance. He has coached here once before and he has even played a round on this course so his experience was very useful.

"It can be quite intimidating standing on the tee looking at the narrow fairways ahead but I knew what to do.

"I've also been seeing a yoga instructor this week. It really helped me to relax and provided me with extra strength when I'm out on course. It's my first time seeing a yoga instructor and I am really enjoying it," admitted Liang, who recorded three top-10 finishes on the Asian Tour this season. He is currently ranked eighth on the Asian Tour's Order of Merit.

India's Singh, who is gunning for his maiden national Open title, was five strokes behind the Chinese star after a 65 today.

"The course is playing excellent. It is there for the taking. The greens are rolling well and the scoring today has been great. The greens were playing pure and true," said Singh, who was in awe of Liang's opening round effort.

"It was incredible. I was shocked.

"I have never had anyone shoot a 12-under in a tournament I have played in before. It was amazing. I thought he could be 10-under or something, but 12-under is something else. A course record by two and that really means something.A 12-under never comes easy, no matter how easy the course. I have played well, but I am five behind!" added Singh.

Chopra, with two wins on the US PGA Tour, was pleased with his round of 66.

"It is my best ever round at the Delhi Golf Club in tournament play. I have had a 63, but it was in a practice round a while back.  I am happy with my play. I came back without a bogey, so it was great," said Chopra.

Defending champion Jyoti Randhawa endured a slow day after a 74 to lie in a tie for 92nd spot.

"I was just not there today. I missed a lot of short putts and did not seem to concentrate," said Randhawa.

Leading first round scores

60 - Liang Wen-chong (CHN)

65 - Jeev Milkha Singh (IND)

66 - Lu Wen-teh (TPE), Sanjay Kumar (IND), Daniel Chopra (SWE)

67 - Rick Kulacz (AUS), Simon Griffiths (ENG), Unho Park (AUS), Atthaphon Prathummanee (THA)

68 - Mukesh Kumar (IND), Prom Meesawat (THA), Karanjit S Sandhu (IND), Chang Tse-peng (TPE)

69 - Lam Chih Bing (SIN), Muhammad Munir (PAK), Iain Steel (MAS), Gaurav Ghei (IND), Gavin Flint (AUS), Udorn Duangdecha (THA), Pornsakon Tipsanit (THA)

70 - Rafick Ali (IND), Andrew Dodt (AUS), Airil Rizman (MAS), Ashok Kumar (IND), Rahil Gangjee (IND), Thaworn Wiratchant (THA), Harinder Gupta (IND), Jason King (AUS), Rhys Davies (WAL), Angelo Que (PHI), Adam Blyth (AUS), Darren Beck (AUS), Craig Smith (WAL), Himmat Rai (IND), Pijit Petchkasem (THA).

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