BANGKOK – Koumei Oda of Japan defied the tropical heat on Thursday to shoot an 8-under 64 and lead by one stroke after the opening round of the Thailand Open.
Oda made 11 birdies offset by a bogey and double bogey at Thana City Golf & Sports Club to lead a chasing pack of six players at 7 under in the OneAsia season-opening event.
They are South Korean pair Hwang Jung-gon and Cho Min-gyu, Brazil’s Lucas Lee, John Kim of the United States and Australian duo David McKenzie and Matthew Griffin.
“I have had 10 birdies before, but not 11. The secret is I putted very well – just 26 putts for the round,” said Oda, a five-time winner on the Japan Tour. “It was very hot out there, so I knew I had to drink a lot of water. This is my first round in a competition this year. It’s quite a short course, but you still have to keep your ball in play. You need to be accurate.”
Former OneAsia money leader Scott Strange of Australia, local favourite Wisut Artjanawat and Simon Yates of Scotland are at 6 under.
Three-time major champion Padraig Harrington had a share of 11th place with defending champion Chris Wood of England after both shot 67s.