Jaidee shares early lead
Asian number one Thongchai Jaidee shrugged off injury to share a two-shot first-round lead with Kim Do-hoon at the Volvo China Open.
By Rachel Griffiths
Last Updated: 15/04/10 5:19pm
Asian number one Thongchai Jaidee shrugged off an elbow injury to share a two-shot first-round lead with Kim Do-hoon at the Volvo China Open.
Thailand's Jaidee admits he briefly considered pulling out of the event in China after withdrawing midway through the second round of the Masters last week with an elbow strain.
But despite insisting the injury is only 70 percent healed, Jaidee dominated at the Jinji Lakes International Golf Club to card a remarkable bogey-free eight-under-par 64.
"I played very solid after a week off last week. I had a good game plan," explained the 40-year-old former paratrooper.
"I was unable to practice on the course before, I only played two holes in the pro-am because the weather was terrible.
"But I hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens and I made a lot of putts. Over the next few days, if my health stays okay as my arm is getting better and better everyday, I hope to get better and better."
Korea's Kim, meanwhile, fired eight birdies and an eagle to follow up his third-placed finish at the Luxehills Chengdu Open earlier this month and his home tour triumph last week at the SBS Tomato Open.
"I played very well. It was my third 64 in three weeks," said Kim.
"I admire Tiger Woods but I also watch KJ Choi and YE Yang and they are my inspiration. Tomorrow I hope to play well again."
Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal and China's Liang Wen-chong, fresh from his victory in Chengdu, set the early pace, but Thongchai reduced the lead as he scored four birdies in five holes before the turn.
The Thai then produced an outstanding chip-in eagle from 20 feet off the green at the 14th to take a share of the lead before superb approaches into 16 and 17 set up straightforward birdie putts from under five feet.
"I hope this week will be a very good week for me," added Thongchai. "Last week was very hard for me having to withdraw.
"But I have had a few days' rest and this week and next week in Korea are very important for me as if I can do well I can stay in the top 50 and I can play in the Players Championship at Sawgrass next month."
The chasing pack is headed by home favourite Liang, Larrazabal and Welshman Jamie Donaldson, with American Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin, former champion Damien McGrane, Peter Lawrie and Korea's Hong Soon-sang a shot further adrift at five-under.