Asian Amateur Championship opening day roundup

Lee Soo-min stormed into first place after Round One of this year’s Asian Amateur Championship finishing the day on seven-under with a score of 65 at The Singapore Island Golf and Country Club.

The 17 year-old Korean carded a fantastic round that included six birdies and an outstanding eagle at the 9th to take him top of the leader board after 18 holes.

However, he faces some stiff competition from a chasing pack just two shots back includes Japanese defending champion Hideki Matsuyama.

Lee, currently 667th on the World Amateur Golf Ranking, takes the overnight lead after a day of damp humid conditions that included a one hour lightning delay just 10 minutes after the first shot was struck.

Despite the delay all 120 players finished their rounds with 26 carding sub-par totals over The Singapore Island Country Club’s New Course.

A delighted Lee, the highest placed amateur at both the 2010 and 2011 GS Caltex Maekyung Open Golf Championship, said: “The last hole was my best. This course suits me because it is narrow and suits my playing style – I am better in my long game.

“I’m really pleased with today’s result and hope it continues until Sunday. I have my sights firmly set at a place in next year’s Masters which will keep me motivated over the next few days”.

Matsuyama, holder of the Masters Silver Cup for low amateur, led the following pack for second place with five-under.

The 19 year-old picked up where he left off last year carding a score of 67, with four birdies and an eagle on the sixteenth.

Matsuyama is currently joined in second place with Kenneth Christian John De Silva from Malaysia, Ian Andrew from Indonesia and Ben Campbell from New Zealand all finishing day one on 67.

De Silva said: “I played the best round ever today, and it was a good start to the tournament. I will try to keep it going for the next three days, and I will try my very best to win the Asian Amateur Championship trophy.”

An invitation to the 2012 Masters Tournament awaits the champion this week, with both the winner and the runner(s)-up earning places in International Final Qualifying for The Open Championship.

Tze Huang Choo, the leading Singaporean after Round One, posted a consistent round that included three birdies on the 2nd, 10th, 14th and finishing in style by holing a final birdie on the 18th to tie in sixth place, three shots behind the lead on minus four.

Tze said: “I had a really good run today with a bogey-free round. All day I was positive and patient and it paid off with three birdies on the back nine.

“It’s a competitive field out there this week but if I keep playing like this I hope to be near the top of the leader board come Sunday.”

Click here for the full leaderboard.