Michael Hoey shot a course record eight-under-par 64

Michael Hoey shot a course record eight-under-par 64 to take the first-round lead at the True Thailand Classic presented by Black Mountain. Hoey was the only player in the field to hit every green in regulation.

“No bogeys, no fives on the card, and a course record is a nice start,” reflected the Northern Irishman. “I’m swinging the club nicely so hopefully I’ll put three more good rounds together and see what happens.”

“We had ten or 11 holes with not much wind, which was an advantage teeing off early. I hit the ball well, and it suits me that there’s a bit of length off the tee; you can carry a few corners and reach the par fives.”

“I started to hit the ball well in the Middle East, but I was coming 50th or thereabouts each week. At least I was making cuts and making money, but throwing in a few double bogeys was ruining my scorecards. Hopefully this is the start of some more bogey-free stuff.”

It was a day of low scoring, with almost half the field ending the day under par.

Rookie Matt Ford, who came through Q School at the 10th time of asking last winter, was another to tee up in the morning. He raced into the early lead with five birdies in his opening 11 holes.

A double bogey at 14 and another dropped shot at 15 threatened to derail his round, but he rallied with birdies at 16 and 18 and finishes the day three shots off the lead of the True Thailand Classic.

Hoey is one shot ahead of a trio in second place – Spain’s Carlos Pigem and Taiwan’s Chien-yao Hung and American David Lipsky. Pigem’s round of 65 was his lowest of his 31 rounds on The European Tour, by four shots.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat led a strong home challenge on five under, until he found water and a bunker down the 18th and finished with a double bogey which landed him in an eight-way tie for 6th, which includes fellow Thai Pariya Junhasavasdikul.

True Thailand Classic leaderboard