Bernd Wiesberger (Getty Images)
Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger sits just one off the pace as Australia’s Scott Hend continued his impressive Asian Tour form with a six under par 66 to share the first round lead with Korea’s Hwang Inn-choon at the CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters.
Reigning Open Championship winner Ernie Els of South Africa was also in the mix after returning a 68 at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club.
Wiesberger, who finished tied seventh in the event last year, fired a 67 for third.
The big-hitting Hend was delighted to be in position to win his second victory this season following his triumph at the Chiangmai Golf Classic in Thailand in March.
“I’m in a good position,” said Hend, whose first title came in Indonesia. “The scores are going to be low this week so I’ve got to keep grinding those numbers and add that into a good score.
“The ball is not rolling very far because of how wet it is from the rain last night. We (big hitters) have an advantage over the other guys but you still have to get those putts into the hole.”
Hwang, who won on the Asian Tour in 2008, put his new putter to good use when he birdied four of his closing five holes to share the lead.
Four-time Major Champion Els appears to be finding his best form, having finished tied 13th at the Masters Tournament and 15th on the US PGA Tour on Sunday.
“I’m starting to feel more comfortable with my game,” he said. “The last time I played in Chiangmai, I wasn’t too comfortable with my game. I played okay at the Masters Tournament and had a nice week at New Orleans.
“I feel that things are starting to come around so I got to thank the Asian Tour for getting my game back in shape. I like playing out here.”