Taipei: Chinese Taipei’s Lin Wen-tang enjoyed an opening four-under-par 68 to take a share of the first round lead alongside compatriot Chou Hung-nan at the Transcend Open on Wednesday.
The 36-year-old also had the distinction of recording the tournament’s first hole-in-one where he won a Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph watch courtesy of tournament sponsor, Audemars Piguet but insisted that the contest is far from over.
Chiang Chen-chih of Chinese Taipei is a further shot back in third place on 69 alongside Lin Wen-hong, Kao Shang-hung and Lien Lu-sen while Wang Ter-chang, a four-time winner on the Asian Tour, posted a 70 for a three-way tie for seventh place with Yeh We-tze and Tsai Chi-huang at the Tong Hwa Golf and Country Club.
Emerging young talent Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines is among the 10 players bunched in 10th place on 71 at the US$130,000 tournament which is also the fourth leg of this season’s Asian Development Tour (ADT).
Lin, who teed off in back-nine parred his opening three holes before erupting into joy when he used his five-iron to sink his shot on the par-three 13th for a hole-in-one.
“A hole-in-one always brings about a special feeling and it was no different for me even though this is my 13th hole-in-one that I’ve recorded since turning professional,” said Lin.
Lin went on to mark his card with a birdie on hole 17th before adding another on the par-four seventh to reach home comfortably in 68.
Although the five-time Asian Tour winner is in pole position, he is aware of the emerging talents at this week’s ADT event and believes that it is still too early to predict who will emerge victorious on Saturday.
“It’s a nice start and I couldn’t have asked for more on a windy day like today. There is a promising pool of talented players who are all eager to prove themselves and show that they can match up against season campaigners like me. As for myself, I’ll focus on each round and not get too carried away as there’re still three more rounds to play,” said Lin.
Chou birdied his third and sixth holes in his opening front-nine before dropping his only shot of the round at the par-five eighth for a bogey-six. He continued his birdie run on the 12th and 13th holes before adding his fifth birdie on the par-four 15th.
“I haven’t played so well for a long time already but today, I played really solid from tee to green, making a few great putts which was key. It’s important that I maintain this form for the next three rounds,” said the 46-year-old veteran.
Lien who missed the cuts in the two events that he has played on the Asian Tour is happy to be playing his way back into contention at the Transcend Open.
“My form hasn’t been good since the start of the season but I’m hopeful that today’s performance will bring back that much-needed confidence for me to compete and be in contention again,” said Lien.
Meanwhile Tabuena believes that his swing change is beginning to pay off again after a disappointing home performance at the Philippine Open where he was competing for the first time as a professional.
“I’ve not been playing too well lately especially in the Philippines Open and so I went back to my swing coach who told me to go back to the basics. I feel it’s working out for me now,” said the talented 16-year-old who won a silver medal at the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China last year and finished in the top-40 of the Asian Tour Qualifying School early this year while still an amateur.
The ADT was launched last year as a platform for players to gain access on to the elite Asian Tour. The top-three finishers on the Order of Merit will gain promotion for the 2012 season.
Leading first round scores
68 LIN Wen-tang (TPE), CHOU Hung-nan (TPE)
69 CHIANG Chen-chih (TPE), LIN Wen-hong (TPE),LIEN Lu-sen(TPE), KAO Shang-hung (TPE)
70 TSAI Chi-huang (TPE), YEH Wei-tze (TPE), WANG Ter-chang (TPE)
71 LIEN Chi-wei (TPE), YEH Chang-ting (TPE), Ajeetesh SANDHU (IND), Miguel TABUENA (PHI), Hirotaro NAITO (JPN), LIN Keng-chi (TPE), LEE Yi-cheng (TPE), Pawin INGKHAPRADIT (THA), HSU Mong-nan (TPE), Will YANAGISAWA (USA)
Photo - Asian Tour
Asian Tour www.GolfGreedy.com