Kiwi rides timely eagle to the top

Sports | 12 Oct 2018

New Zealand's Nick Voke had a dream finish to the first round of the Clearwater Bay Open, as he eagled the 18th to cap a five-under 65 and take a one-stroke lead at the season-ending PGA TOUR Series-China event.

Italian Cristiano Terragni bucked strong winds to shoot 66 in one of the early flights at the Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club before being caught up by Sweden's Oskar Arvidsson.

Thailand's Gunn Charoenkul was another shot back on 67 - a double bogey on the 18th spoiling a round highlighted by a hole-in-one. He was tied for fourth with Australia's Deyen Lawson and Americans Benjamin Lein and Matthew Negri.

Voke, 23, burst onto the Tour in impressive fashion when he tied for fourth at the Suzhou Open last month, then won the Qinhuangdao Championship and Macau Championship.

The rookie pro missed only one fairway and two greens in regulation.

"I'm pretty stoked to be honest as it was very challenging out there," Voke said. "The course was playing very tricky and the wind just makes it all the more difficult. I played some really smart golf and I was executing some good shots, plus a nice little eagle on the last."

Voke's previous appearance at Clearwater Bay was at the 2015 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, where he tied for 19th after a poor final round in an event reduced to 54 holes. "I was in contention, but just blew apart," he said.

Amateur Terrence Ng was the best-placed Hong Kong player after shooting 70, while Motin Yeung, seventh in the Order of Merit standings, carded 71.

Order of Merit leader Charlie Saxon of the United States shot 74.

Terragni, whose best finish this season was a tie for 26th at the Suzhou Open, had a bogey-free round. "I was feeling good and I took some risks, but I made a bogey-free round, so I'm really happy," the Italian said.

Charoenkul, who played with Voke and China's Yi Cao, holed out with a pitching-wedge at the 142-yard par-3 14th to move into a share of the lead with Terragni then led outright after a birdie at 17, but fell back with a double-bogey on 18. "I thought I hit it just right of the bunker, but the wind kind of took it into the bushes," he said.

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