Local resident Han Ren leads the inaugural Asian Amateur Championship in southern China after posting an amateur course record seven-under 65 to take a one-shot lead at Mission Hills Golf Club’s World Cup Course.
The Shenzhen native opened with a birdie with three more in a row on five, six and seven. Turning in 32, further birdies came at 10, 13, 15 and 16 before a disappointing bogey at the last.
Han, currently a student at Indiana University, said: “It is too early to think about winning the tournament. Winning a ticket to play in the Masters Tournament is the biggest attraction of this tournament yet it is also the biggest distraction for me.”
Korea’s Han, meanwhile, also staked his claim for the title, which counts an invitation to the 2010 Masters Tournament and a place in International Final Qualifying for The Open Championship at St Andrews as prizes for the winner.
The individual leader at the Nomura Cup (Asia-Pacific Amateur Golf Team Championship) last month, he showed his quality when he opened round one with three consecutive birdies.
Playing alongside China’s Hu Mu and Hong Kong’s Steven Lam in a showcase of the diverse range of young amateur talent in Asia Pacific golf, he is one shot in front of the Philippines’ Mhark Fernando.
The players are part of a 116-man field from 30 Asia Pacific Golf Confederation member countries competing in the first Asian Amateur Championship, being played approximately 90 minutes north of Hong Kong.
More than 150 countries are seeing television coverage of the Asian Amateur Championship. IBM, KFC, Rolex and Zurich Financial Services, Inc. are the event’s sponsors, adding to the support already being provided by the Masters Tournament and The R&A.
For more information visit asianamateurchampionship.com.