American David Lipsky together with Spain’s Jorge Campillo and Finland’s Tapio Pulkkanen took charge of the first round by carding matching seven-under-par 65s to set the early pace at the Volvo China Open on Thursday.
Coming off a fifth-place finish in Morocco last week, Lipsky, the 2014 Asian Tour Order of Merit winner, continued his good form at the Genzon Golf Club by marking his card with eight birdies and one bogey for a slender one-advantage over compatriot John Catlin as well as China’s Ashun Wu and Jin Daxing.
“I played well and I got my putter working today; I hit it alright, not great, but I think I holed 150 feet of putts today so that always helps,” Lipsky said.
Catlin, who was one of the breakout stars on the Asian Tour in 2018, enjoyed a bogey-free round 66 to start promisingly at the Volvo China Open, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.
RIGHT: Catlin shares second place after the opening round of the China Open. PHOTO: STR/AFP/Getty Images.
Jin and Wu delighted the home crowd when they emerged as the highest-placed Chinese after day one when they both traded seven birdies against one bogey to stay in the title hunt.
Blessed with a clean bill of health now, Philippines’ Miguel Tabuena fought his way back from a back injury by signing for a 65 to be bunched in tied-sixth place which was also included Malaysia’s Gavin Green and China’s Haotong Li.
“It was a pleasant surprise to be really honest as I was out of action for about a month because of my back injury,” Tabuena said.
“I didn’t have any expectations as I only started to hit balls last week.”
Alexander Bjork of Sweden opened his title defence of the Volvo China Open by posting a 70 to trail the leaders by five shots in a share of 46th place.