Korea, China teams lead at Asian Games

photo

Rashid Khan is among the early individual contenders in Guangzhou.

Teen Rashid Khan signaled his medal intentions with a hole-in-one on the opening day of the Asian Games golf tournament.

The Indian, who is making his swansong as an amateur this week, aced the par-3 seventh hole at the Dragon Lake Golf Course Wednesday en route to a 1-under 71 and a share of fifth place.

Leading the way in the men’s individual competition is Miguel Luis Tabuena of the Philippines. Tabuena, who turned 16 last month, compiled five birdies and a bogey on way to a 4-under 68.

Tied for second, one shot back are Koreans Kim Meen-whee and Lee Jae-hyeok, and Sri Lankan Mithun Perera.

Despite a double-bogey six at the 18th that cost him a share of second place, 19-year-old Khan – a two-time winner of the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final at nearby Mission Hills Shenzhen – found his play to be a confidence-boosting performance after a disappointing display at last month’s World Amateur Team Championships in Argentina.

He reached the turn at even-par 36 before he found his range on the back nine with four birdies and one bogey..

Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, the recently-crowned Asian Amateur champion, was tied for 15th place after a 75 that included an erratic 40 on the front.

Korea swept the board in Doha at the last Asian Games in 2006, taking home an unprecedented four gold medals across the men’s and ladies’ competitions.

In the team event, Korea stormed into an eight-shot lead over the Philippines with Sri Lanka a further five shots back in third.

In the women’s events, it was China’s Yan Jing who took center stage. The 16-year-old carded a 3-under 69.

It was the best score of the day among the women and lifted China into first place with a team total of 142, thanks also to a 73 from Li Jiayun.

Korea is two shots back in second place with Kim Hyun-soo leading the way with a 70. Korea’s women are strong favorites to win gold once again after their runaway triumph at the World Amateur Team Championships in Argentina.

Since the sport made its Asian Games debut in 1982 in New Delhi, Korea has won eight golds against Japan’s seven. The women’s game was included in 1990.

This year, 78 men from 20 countries and 32 women from 11 countries are taking part in the golf event, an Asian Games record. Individual golds will be determined by four rounds of stroke play and team golds by cumulative score.

••••••••••••••

MEN’S TEAM EVENT, FULL FIRST-ROUND STANDINGS: 1, Korea 210; 2, Philippines 218; 3, Sri Lanka 223; 4=, Japan, Bangladesh, Chinese Taipei 224; 7=, India, Hong Kong, Thailand 226; 10, China 227; 11, Singapore 229; 12, Malaysia 237; 13, Lebanon 241; 14, Saudi Arabia 255; 15, Macau 257; 16, Vietnam 262; 17, Qatar 265; 18, Nepal 270; 19, Mongolia 286.

MEN’S INDIVIDUAL EVENT, LEADING FIRST-ROUND SCORES: 68 – Miguel Luis Tabuena (PHI); 69 – Kim Meen-whee (KOR), Lee Jae-hyeok (KOR), Mithun Perera (SRI); 71 – Hung Chien-yao (TPE), Rashid Khan (IND); 72 – Khalid Walid Attieh (KSA), Park Il-hwan (KOR).

WOMEN’S TEAM EVENT, FULL FIRST-ROUND STANDINGS: 1, China 142; 2, Korea 144; 3, Chinese Taipei 148; 4, Japan 149; 5, Thailand 152; 6, Philippines 157; 7, Malaysia 158; 8, Hong Kong 161; 9, India 162; 10, Vietnam 193.

WOMEN’S INDIVIDUAL EVENT, LEADING FIRST-ROUND SCORES: 69 – Yan Jing (CHN); 70 – Kim Hyun-soo (KOR); 71 – Mamiko Higa (JPN); 73 – Li Jiayun (CHN), Liu Yi-chen (TPE); 74 – Han Jung-eun (KOR).

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