Thursday, October 26, 2017

Koepka's grandstand finish to lead with a 64     
American Brooks Koepka, pictured, staged a grandstand finish for an eight-under-par 64 to take the lead from Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat who had earlier taken the clubhouse lead with a 65  on day one of the WGC-HSBC Champions.
Koepka was five under par for the last four holes of an inward half of 31. He birdied the 14th, 16th and 17th before signing off his day's "work" with an eagle 3.
Barnrat is a three-time winner on the European Tour and produced his usual brand of entertainment at Sheshan International Golf Club, making just five pars as he got to seven under alongside Malaysian Gavin Green.
US Open champion Brooks Koepka was then a shot off the lead with three holes to play, one clear of Paul Dunne, Haydn Porteous, Justin Rose and Brian Harman.
Aphibarnrat bogeyed the 11th but made back-to-back birdies on the 13th and 14th before dropping back to level par with a bogey on the next. A hat-trick of gains from the 16th then moved him to the summit.
He did not stop there, hitting an excellent approach into the first and getting on the green at the par five second in two to get to five under. An eight-foot putt on the third handed him the solo lead and when he holed a monster on the fourth it was seven birdies in a row and he was absolutely flying.
A three-putt from just off the green at the next then led to a third bogey of the day and made it 11 holes without a par. A pair of pars did eventually follow but an 18-footer on the eighth brought a tenth birdie of the day.
Green was bogey-free in his impressive opening effort, making birdies on the second, fourth, eighth, tenth, 13th, 16th and last.
American Koepka parred his first four holes but then made three birdies in his next four and an eagle on the 18th meant he turned in 31. Another birdie on the first followed but he three-putted the third from inside six feet before picking the shot straight back up.
South African Porteous had five birdies and two bogeys on the front nine and made further gains on the 11th and 12th. A double-bogey seven on the 14th stalled his momentum but he birdied the next two to sit two off the lead with two to play.
Rose turned in 34 with three birdies and a bogey but a hat-trick of gains from the first moved him up the leaderboard, while Dunne had birdies on the second, fifth, sixth, 11th and 13th.
Jordan Smith and Patrick Reed were at four under, a shot clear of a large group including Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex leader Tommy Fleetwood, local favourite Li Haotong, in-form Tyrrell Hatton, Henrik Stenson and Bernd Wiesberger.
Wiesberger already has a win in China this year and he made the 32nd hole-in-one of the 2017 season on the fourth.
The Austrian sank a seven iron from 167 yards for the 1002nd ace in European Tour history.

par 72
64 Brooks Koepka (USA)
65 Gavin Green (Malaysia), Kiradech Barnrat (Thailand)
66 Haydn Porteous (S Africa), Patrick Reed (US)





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