Friday, 19 March 2010
Ballantine's Championship - Round One  (Getty Images)
Ballantine's Championship - Round One (Getty Images)

Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño and Mark Brown continued their fine form to take an early one shot lead at the Ballantine's Championship at the Pinx Golf Club on Jeju Island.

Spaniard Fernandez-Castaño and New Zealand's Brown were second and third respectively last week at The European Tour event in Beijing – the Volvo China Open - and the pair opened the co-sanctioned European and Asian Tour tournament in Korea with seven under scores of 65.

Both players took advantage of a generous par five tenth where no fewer than 11 players picked up an eagle.

For Brown that was the first hole of the day - a great start that was followed by a bogey at the 14th and back-to-back birdies at the 16th and 17th.

Two more consecutive birdies followed at the first and second holes and further shots were picked up at the seventh and ninth.

"I didn't play here last year, so it's my first real look at it. But I just played nice and steady," Brown said.

"The last two or three tournaments I've started to play a little bit better and get my confidence up a little bit.

"I'm aiming to peak for a Major in July back in Europe, it's a step in the right direction"

However, after Brown had claimed the morning lead, in the afternoon Fernandez-Castaño also holed six birdies, a bogey and his eagle on the tenth to match his rival at the top of the standings.

"It's all good to start. It's always important to start with a good round," the Spaniard said.

"But still, it's 54 holes to go, so it's still a long way."

Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee shot four consecutive birdies to sit one shot behind the leaders in a group of four players on six under.

The Enjoy Jakarta Indonesia Open winner holed birdies from the second to the fifth holes and then immediately followed up with a bogey at the par four sixth.

He bounced back with an eagle at the tenth plus a further birdie on the 12th to join Korea's Kang Kyung-Nam and Robert-Jan Derksen of Holland.

"I played very well. I made a lot of putts today, like 13, the par three, I hit a very long putt for par," Jaidee said.

"And then I started very well, birdied two, three, four, five - four in a row - and then three putted number six. Very good comeback."

England's Robert Dinwiddie, whose round of five birdies and an eagle was soured by bogeys at the seventh and 11th holes, joins Alessandro Tadini and Jason Knutzen on five under.

Elsewhere World Number Nine Henrik Stenson remains in the hunt with a score of four under 68, while three time Major winner Ernie Els joins him on the same score thanks to two birdies on the front nine and an eagle at the popular tenth.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
T1JAIDEE, ThongchaiTHA18-4
T1KANG, Sung-hoonKOR18-4
T4ELS, ErnieRSA18-2
T4DERKSEN, Robert-JanNED18-2
R2D Fantasy

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