Chinese Taipei’s Lu Wei-chih wielded a hot putter to grab a share of the opening round lead with Shugo Imahira and Toshinori Muto of Japan as the trio signed for matching six-under-par 65s at the Panasonic Open Golf Championship on Thursday.
Lu, who played in the final group that started from the 10th today, traded two birdies against a bogey to turn in 35 but picked up five more birdies on his way home to seize a share of the lead at the prestigious Higashi Hirono Golf Club.
The 40-year-old Lu would match the efforts of Imahira and Muto, who both returned with bogey-free rounds highlighted by six birdies in the ¥150,000,000 (approximately US$1,338,067) event that is co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO).
“Overall, I hit it really good off the tee and was able to hit it close to the pins and give myself opportunities for birdies. My putting was good too. I struggled with putting last week. I am glad I managed to get back the feel this week,” Lu said.
RIGHT: Brendan Jones is two shots back at the Panasonic Open. PHOTO: Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images.
Order of Merit leader Jazz Janewattananond of Thailand also signed for a blemish-free card as he registered a 66 to trail by one shot in fourth place alongside Korea’s Yikeun Chang and Kazuki Higa of Japan, who claimed their respective breakthroughs on the Asian Tour and the Japan Golf Tour earlier this month.
Australian Brendan Jones, one of the five past champions of the tournament in the field this week, closed with two straight birdies to settle two shots off the pace in seventh place with three other players, including Argentinean Miguel Carballo, who won his first Asian Tour title recently in Indonesia.
The Panasonic Open Golf Championship will be the concluding leg of the 2018/19 Panasonic Swing. The popular event is celebrating its 10th edition on the Asian Tour this week and is returning to the Higashi Hirono Golf Club following a seven-year lapse.