Thursday, November 12, 2009

Derksen is Flying Dutchman in Hong Kong Open

Robert-Jan Derksen of the Netherlands claimed the early bragging rights after posting a seven-under-par 63 to take the first round morning lead at the UBS Hong Kong Open today.
Defending champion Lin Wen-tang of Chinese Taipei trails Derksen by a single shot after returning a 64 to take a share of second place together with France’s Gregory Bourdy and England’s David Dixon.
Chinese Taipei’s Lu Wei-chih who has enjoyed four top-10 finishes on the Asian Tour this season is among the mix tied for fifth on 65.
Derksen opened his campaign at the US$2.5 million showpiece with birdies on the third, fourth and eighth. The Dutchman coloured his card with more red on the 13th, 14th and 15th before a lone bogey on the par-four 16th spoilt his otherwise perfect card.
Two more birdies on the 17th and closing 18th then ensured that Derksen would sign off as the early morning leader.
“You’ve to be patient here, that’s what I have learnt. I’ve been here five times and I think that really helps. I was patient today and took my chances. The greens are always a problem for us Europeans. You learn but you never really know,” said the Derksen.
“I didn’t hit many bad shots at all, just one three putt on the 16th. Other than that, I managed to hit all the greens and fairways and gave myself plenty of chances,” added Derksen.
Meanwhile Lin, a five-time Asian Tour winner began his title defence with birdies on the 10th and 11th in his opening back-nine before continuing his birdie run with another on the 17th.
The 35-year-old reached the turn in 33, before returning home with further birdies on the fourth, sixth and ninth at the 6,722 yards par-70 composite course at the Hong Kong Golf Club.
“I’m very pleased with how I played today especially with my opening two birdies that got my round underway. That gave me the confidence to go on and play well,” said Lin.
Lin broke the decade long stranglehold European golfers had on this US$2.5 million showpiece and will now attempt to become only the second player in the history of the event to make a successful defence of the title since compatriot, Hsieh Yung-yo did the honours in 1963 and 1964.
The five-time Asian Tour winner knows that he has a chance to follow the illustrious footsteps of his fellow countryman and believes that his mental strength is key to his title defence.
“I’ll be lying if I say that there’s no pressure. We’re professional sportsmen and we all play to win. If you don’t win, a second place or last place finish will not make any difference,” said Lin.
“I hope to maintain my form, play well over the next three rounds and most importantly stay focus for the challenges ahead,” added Lin.
The UBS Hong Kong Open is Hong Kong’s oldest professional sporting event, having started in 1959



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