Ras Al Khaimah Championship: Ryo Hisatsune leads as Edoardo Molinari, Rasmus Hojgaard impress
Ryo Hisatsune began the week with six successive birdies as he posted a stunning 64 to lead by two shots after the first round of the Ras Al Khaimah Championship; watch live on Friday from 8.30am on Sky Sports Golf
Last Updated: 02/02/23 4:32pm
Ryo Hisatune produced an incredible birdie run to jump into the early lead at the DP World Tour's Ras al Khaimah Championship, where Edoardo Molinari and Rasmus Hojgaard also impressed.
The Japanese played birdied each of his opening six holes on his way to a brilliant opening-round 64 at Al Hamra GC, giving him a two-shot cushion over Molinari, Hojgaard and England's Matthew Baldwin.
Hisatsune followed his six-birdie start by taking advantage of the par-five eighth, seeing him reach the turn in 29, with a birdie at the par-five 10th raising hopes of a potential sub-60 round.
The world No 210 - making his first start of the year - ended a run of pars by rolling in a 15-foot birdie at the par-three 15th, briefly putting him three ahead, with Hisatsune's only dropped shot coming when he found trees off the tee at the par-five 18th on his way to a closing bogey.
"It was so unreal," Hisatsune said. "I was just hitting shots, holing putts. Every time I made it. It was so amazing. It's the first time I've had six birdies in a row. It's my first event of the (calendar) year and I was a little nervous at the start, but it was an easy start. So lucky.
"(After that start) I thought 'keep going'. On the back nine there are some tough holes. I had to keep making shots, making pars. On the last hole I was so nervous, but it was just a bogey so OK for me."
Baldwin made four consecutive birdies on his front nine and came to close to a hole-out albatross on his final hole, with a close-range eagle seeing him sign for a first-round 66, while Hojgaard posted six birdies in a bogey-free start and Molinari started strongly to complete the group tied-second.
Ryan Fox - the highest-ranked player in the field - is in the group of six players on five under that includes England's Callum Shinkwin, who followed his fourth-placed finish in Dubai last week by carding a bogey-free 67, while Ryder Cup hopeful Adrian Meronk - who can move inside the world's top 50 this week - is within four of the early lead.
Defending champion Nicolai Hojgaard produced an eagle-birdie finish to salvage a one-under 71, having made three bogeys in a six-hole stretch earlier in his round, with Adrian Otaegui in the group level-par and Victor Perez opening with a one-over 73.
Watch the DP World Tour's Ras al Khaimah Championship throughout the week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage continues on Friday from 8.30am on Sky Sports Golf.