Wi fires record 62 to lead in Vietnam's Ho Tram Open
South Korean relishes conditions, S'pore's Koh fires surprise 67
On a day when South Korea's Charlie Wi rolled back the years, Singapore's Koh Dengshan looked ahead to a bright horizon.
Wi, a 43-year-old regular on the United States, European and Asian Tours, establish a course record of nine-under 62 for a two-shot first round lead at the inaugural US$1.5 million ($2.1m) Ho Tram Open in Vietnam yesterday.
Also teeing off in the morning when conditions were better than the windy afternoon, Koh, 26, showed that he would be Singapore's flag-bearer once his mentor, Mardan Mamat, 48, switches to the Senior Tour.
Koh, who is a regular on the Asian Development Tour and is playing in Vietnam on a sponsor's invitation, shot a brilliant 67 in a stellar cast of golfers from around the world.
Koh, who is lying joint-18th, said: "My back hurt when I was warming up in the morning, so my main aim was to finish the round with a reasonable score.
"I must have strained my back while I was hitting balls at the driving range. It could also be because this is my eighth straight week of playing.
"During my round, I couldn't pick my ball from the hole because it hurt when I bent down. My caddie had to help me collect the ball.
"The physiotherapist gave me some treatment before the round and it helped a bit.
"I putted really good and found all the fairways. I recovered nicely from a double-bogey on the 17th hole (he teed-off from the 10th).
"You must stay patient on this course. There are a lot of scoring holes out there, so you need to keep your ball in play on those holes and take advantage."
Wi produced a superb 10-birdie round, including five-on-the-trot, at The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip course to lead from Thai duo Danthai Boonma and 18-time Asian Tour champion Thaworn Wiratchant, both with 64s, in what is Vietnam's richest sporting event.
The tenacious Wi, a seven-time winner in Asia and a regular on the US PGA Tour until recently, gave himself a chance of an eighth Asian Tour title, but the first since 2006.
"When I showed up here on Tuesday and played the first few holes, I thought 'Wow, this is a tough golf course.'
"The good thing about this course is the wind is always constant so, after playing a few rounds here, the players will get a feel of the course.
"The wind didn't really pick up like how it can here (in the afternoon) so I took advantage of the situation," said Wi.
The straight-shooting South Korean didn't miss a single fairway and needed only 25 putts to give himself a chance of ending a lean spell in his career, which has yielded only two top-10s the past three seasons.
62: Charlie Wi.
64: Danthai Boonma, Thaworn Wiratchant.
65: David Lipsky, Nicholas Fung, Lin Wen-tang.
66: Keith Horne, Jason Knutzon, Juvic Pagunsan, Rahil Gangjee, Javi Colomo, Sergio Garcia, Gaganjeet Bhullar, Shaun Norris, Himmat Rai, Michael Tran, Paul Peterson.
67: Koh Dengshan, Matthew Giles, Antonio Lascuna, Hung Chien-yao, Lu Wei-chih.
68: Lee Sung, Lindsay Renolds, Lionel Weber, Sam Brazel, Robert Rock, Chawalit Plaphol, Adam Groom, Marcus Both, Kalle Samooja, Berry Henson.
72: Mardan Mamat, Unho Park.
75: Lam Chih Bing, Scott Barr.
78: Timothy Low.