Thursday, September 27, 2018

Harding, Weber and Tabuena share Taiwan Masters lead with four-under 68s
 
Chinese Taipei: South African Justin Harding continued his dazzling form by carding a four-under-par 68 to share the opening round lead with Lionel Weber of France and Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters on Thursday.
Harding, the first player to win consecutive events on the Asian Tour this season, fired one eagle and four birdies against two bogeys to take his share of place atop the leaderboard at the fabled Taiwan Golf and Country Club, which is celebrating its centennial year in 2018.
Australian Maverick Antcliff trails the leading trio by one shot in fourth place while local hero Lin Wen-tang, Indian hotshot S.S.P. Chawrasia and Chinese ace Liang Wen-chong were among those bunched in fifth following matching rounds of 70s at the US$850,000 event.
Starting from the par-three 10th hole, the 32-year-old Harding sank two birdies against a bogey to turn in 35. He fired another two birdies and an eagle on the par-five seventh before dropping a shot on his last hole ninth.
Tabuena, who came close to winning the storied event before settling for second place in 2016, renewed his love affair with the Tamsui course after marking his card with five birdies against a bogey. He is chasing for his second Asian Tour victory in a country where he had finished second on four different occasions.
Weber rediscovered some of his best form after closing with two straight birdies to grab a share of the lead. Placed 96th on the latest Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings, the 28-year-old Weber needs a strong performance this week to possibly break into top-60 and retain his card for the 2019 season.
 
Players’ quotes:
Justin Harding (Rsa) – First round 68 (-4)
The eagle on the par-five seventh was obviously the highlight for me. I hit a rescue from about 228 yards to about a foot and then made the eagle. It was nice. The ninth hole is probably one of the toughest this week.
I missed a birdie on sixth from a good spot but was nice to eagle the next hole. I am happy with the day. I played nicely and I played solidly. I didn’t have too many bad shots out there, just a couple of silly bogeys which were kind of unnecessary.
I made a very sneaky birdie putt on the par-five 15th. I duffed the chip from the back of the green and then I made about a 30-foot slider which was an added bonus. I need to work on my chipping!
We got quite lucky this morning. The rain stopped before we teed off. But the swirling winds made it pretty tricky out there. Playing my first round ever here in Chinese Taipei and grabbing a share of the lead, I think it’s job done for me for today. Looking forward to tomorrow.
I played the golf course conservatively. It’s a hard golf course. It’s got quite a bit of shape. I kind of felt like I played my way back on a few occasions today which is good. I kind of stuck to my game plan and then made a couple of putts.
Miguel Tabuena (Phi) – First round 68 (-4)
We got lucky with the weather actually. The rain stopped just before we teed off. I am really pleased with my ball striking. That’s one of the keys to play well on this course. The putts dropped today as well.
Whoever has most control with their trajectory off the tees and who does well in distance control will do well this week. I am played here many times. I came in second four times here in Chinese Taipei. I really enjoyed playing here. It’s not too far away from home.
It’s one of those courses where you can shoot low on the first day but might not do the same in the last few rounds. I guess my past experience has helped. I hope to keep it up tomorrow.
Lionel Weber (Fra) – First round 68 (-4)
It was really good out there. I always like this golf course. The greens are very good this year and it was really enjoyable to play on this golf course. I had a great finish to the round today with two closing birdies after making a bad bogey on 16.
It was a good bounce back. The par-three 17th is a tough hole. I played a five-iron off the tee and made the birdie putt from 16 feet. It was quite nice. I hit a good three-wood on the fairway on the 18th hole and played a gap-wedge before making the birdie putt from five-feet.
It was pretty windy out there. It’s a tricky golf course. I am lucky because I have played here many times and I had the experiences. I have a good strategy for this golf course too so I am going to stick to it and hopefully keep playing well. I am looking forward to tomorrow.
Scores after round 1 of the Mercuries Taiwan Masters being played at the par 72, 6923 Yards Tamsui Course course (am - denotes amateur):
68 - Lionel WEBER (FRA), Justin HARDING (RSA), Miguel TABUENA (PHI).
69 - Maverick ANTCLIFF (AUS).
70 - Junsung KIM (KOR), LIN Wen-tang (TPE), Minchel CHOI (KOR), S.S.P. CHAWRASIA (IND), HUNG Chien-yao (TPE), Kurt KITAYAMA (USA), LIANG Wenchong (CHN), Jazz JANEWATTANANOND (THA).
71 - Berry HENSON (USA), Shiv KAPUR (IND), Gaganjeet BHULLAR (IND), Nicholas FUNG (MAS), Adilson DA SILVA (BRA), Tirawat KAEWSIRIBANDIT (THA), Yikeun CHANG (KOR), TSAI Chi-huang (TPE), LIEN Lu-sen (TPE).
72 - Thaworn WIRATCHANT (THA), Mardan MAMAT (SIN), LU Chien-soon (TPE), LU Wen-teh (TPE), Jake HIGGINBOTTOM (AUS), SUNG Mao-chang (TPE), HUNG Chun-kang (TPE), CHEN Tze-chung (TPE), Jeev Milkha SINGH (IND), Terry PILKADARIS (AUS), John CATLIN (USA), LIN Wen-ko (TPE), Anthony KANG (USA), TSENG Tzu-hsuan (TPE), Josh YOUNGER (AUS), Carlos PIGEM (ESP), K P LIN (TPE), Pannakorn UTHAIPAS (THA), WANG Wei-hsuan (am, TPE).
73 - Suradit YONGCHAROENCHAI (THA), Scott VINCENT (ZIM), LU Wei-chih (TPE), Viraj MADAPPA (IND), Adam BLYTH (AUS), TSAI Che-hung (TPE), Chapchai NIRAT (THA), Danthai BOONMA (THA), Jarin TODD (USA).
74 - YEH Wei-tze (TPE), Miguel CARBALLO (ARG), CHIANG Chen-chih (TPE), Sihwan KIM (USA), Andrew MARTIN (AUS), WANG Tsung-chieh (TPE), Sanghyun PARK (KOR), LEE Chieh-po (TPE), Ben CAMPBELL (NZL), Richard T. LEE (CAN), Shubhankar SHARMA (IND), WANG Wei-lun (TPE), LEE Cho-chuan (TPE), Panuphol PITTAYARAT (THA), James MARCHESANI (AUS), Niall TURNER (IRL).
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