Thursday, December 11, 2008

Rhys Davies takes first round lead with
a 64 in Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open

Welsh rookie Rhys Davies carded an opening eight-under-par 64 to take the first round lead at the US$300,000 Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open and promised to put up a stronger challenge so as to make amends for last week’s heartbreak.
Two-time Asian Tour winner Anthony Kang of the United States is a further shot back on 65 while Indonesia’s Rory Hidayat posted a 66 to take third place. Thailand’s Chawalit Plaphol, who had earlier taken the morning lead, is in fourth place on 67.
Fellow compatriot Thongchai Jaidee, Thaworn Wiratchant together with Australia’s Gavin Flint, Malaysia’s Airil Rizman and Korea’s Park Jae-bum are bunched together in fifth on matching 68s.
Former Walker Cup player and stand-out performer on the US college circuit, Davies came agonisingly close to his maiden win on the Asian Tour last week when lost in a play-off to Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee at the Hana Bank Vietnam Masters.
But with the strong start that he made today, where he recorded nine birdies against a single bogey, Davies is hoping that it will be his turn to be rewarded this week.
“I played really well today. I just went out there, got very focus, hit a lot of good shots and was rewarded with a low score today,” said Davies.
“Last week was a great week too. But I can’t dwell over one little shot which I couldn’t control and missed in the play-off. It’s a new week, great start and I hope it continues,” added Davies.
Meanwhile, Kang who is seeking to end his Asian Tour title drought since 2001, also impressed by firing eight birdies against a lone bogey to finish closely behind Davies at the Phokeethra Country Club.
“I’m really happy with my iron shots, my distance control and I hope it continues for the next three days. I’ve two more events left for the year and I hope to end it well,” said Kang.
Thailand’s Chawalit Plaphol also bolstered his chances of winning his third Asian Tour title after grabbing the early morning lead.
Chawalit got off to a strong start on his opening back-nine when he rattled in five birdies before making the turn in four-under.
The 34-year-old Thai continued to maintain his good form with two more birdies on the second and fourth hole after the turn before dropping a shot on the sixth for a lone bogey.
“I’m quite pleased with how I’ve played today. If there’s any aspect of my game which I can credit to, it’ll be my putting and tee shots,” said Chawalit.
“My strategy and game plan for tomorrow is the same as today, which is to go out there, hit the fairways and attack the pins,” added Chawalit.
Defending champion Bryan Saltus of the United States began his defence with a 72 to end the day in tied-43rd place.
64 Rhys Davies (Wal)
65 Anthony Kang (Usa)
66 Rory Hidayat (Ina)
67 Chawalit Plaphol (Tha)
68 Thaworn Wiratchant (Tha),Thongchai Jaidee (Tha), Gavin Flint (Aus), Airil Rizman (Mas), Park Jae-Bum (Kor)
Selected scores
70 Mardan Mamat (Sin)
72 Bryan Saltus (Sin)



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