Hole-in-one lifts Pepperell into share of first-round lead
WALTON HEATH, ENGLAND
Eddie Pepperell recorded a hole-in-one on the way to claiming a share of the lead on 5-under 67 after the first round of the British Masters on Thursday, while tournament host Justin Rose struggled to a 74.
Fellow Englishmen Tommy Fleetwood and Matt Wallace also shot 67s on a windy day at the Walton Heath course on the outskirts of London.
The first hole-in-one of Pepperell’s career came in spectacular style as his 5-iron from 172 yards on the 9th hit the bottom of the flag and bounced high in the air away from the hole before spinning back into the cup.
“It was a bizarre shot from where I was standing,” he said. “I played awful in the pro-am on Wednesday, probably the worst I have in a while, and I wouldn’t say I played great today but ... it’s great to be at the top with Matt and Tommy.”
Pepperell produced a superb run around the turn because he also had an eagle at the 11th and birdies at the 7th and 10th.
Fleetwood’s round was not without incident, his only bogey coming after an errant tee shot on the par-3 17th finished in a cup holder in a buggy situated to the left of the green.
KEB HANA BANK CHAMPIONSHIP
Hataopla fires 7-under 65 for two-stroke lead
INCHEON, SOUTH KOREA
Nasa Hataoka of Japan fired a 7-under 65 to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the KEB Hana Bank Championship on Thursday.
Danielle Kang and Charley Hull were two shots back on a chilly, windy, damp day at the Sky 72 Ocean Course.
Sung Hyun Park, the U.S. LPGA Tour’s top-ranked player, was among a handful of players three shots back.
Park could have been closer but took a double-bogey 5 on the par-3 17th.
Hataoka was matter-of-fact about the tough conditions.
“As a professional golfer, I believe that we need to be able to play solid and under any condition, including very strong winds,” she said.
She had eight birdies through 16 holes to reach 8 under, but then dropped a shot at 17.
Burgoon opens with 63 to take first-round lead
KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA
Justin Thomas birdied four of his last five holes for a 6-under 66 and was three strokes behind first-round leader and fellow American Bronson Burgoon at the CIMB Classic on Thursday.
Burgoon’s 63 on the par-72 TPC Kuala Lumpur West Course gave him a one-stroke lead over Austin Cook. Two other Americans, Scott Piercy and Billy Horschel, and Taiwan’s C.T. Pan were another stroke back after 65s.
Thomas is in an eight-way tie for sixth, including 2012 champion Nick Watney, Kevin Chappell and Paul Casey.
“You have to play well here every day or at least get a round like today ... it’s what could end up winning me this golf tournament,” Thomas said.