Thursday, 18 November 2010
Mark Brown  (Getty Images)
Mark Brown (Getty Images)

A blistering eight under par 62 from Mark Brown propelled the New Zealander into the first round lead at the UBS Hong Kong Open.

The 35 year old, bidding for a second win on The European Tour after claiming the 2008 Johnnie Walker Classic, leads Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy and India's Jeev Milkha Singh by one stroke at the Hong Kong Golf Club.

Starting on the tenth, Brown picked up birdies in four of his first six holes before picking up another shot on the par four 18th to make the turn in five under.

He continued his charge with three successive gains from the second before making par in his remaining holes to ensure he takes a slender advantage into the second round.

"I have a good mate on the bag this week," said Brown.

"I grew up with him at my home course in New Zealand and it has sort of got me back to a few of the things I used to do when I was younger swing-wise.

"It seems to be working so I will stick with those things."

McIlroy had teed off in the morning and set the early pace with eight birdies against just one bogey.

The 21 year old is looking to win the UBS Hong Kong Open at the third time of asking having narrowly missed out in 2008 and 2009 and holed a putt from 15 feet on the ninth - his last - to move ahead of the field before Brown's charge.

McIlroy's only blemish came on the par four sixth when he sent hit his tee shot into the trees, requiring him to play it out left-handed.

"It is a great start to the tournament obviously. Going out and shooting a good first round is a great start," he said.

"You always feel you can do better. I let one go on the sixth, which was my only bogey of the day."

Former Volvo Masters winner Singh was pleased with his day's work - after a steady start he reached the turn one under par but came back in just 30 shots.

"The front nine is a tougher nine with two tough par threes in there, and the ninth hole, also," said the 38 year old former Asian Number One.

"I hit a lot of good putts - didn't hole many putts in the front nine but saved some good pars like the first and the ninth.

"On the back nine I made a lot of putts, hit the ball well and shot six under and I will take a seven under on this golf course."

England's Simon Dyson shot the first hole-in-one of the tournament on his way to a six under 64 that puts him in a tie for fourth alongside Denmark's Søren Hansen.

The 32 year old from York hit his tee shot on the par three, 144 yard 12th to within two feet of the pin before the ball rolled into the hole. 

"I couldn't have asked for a better start," said Dyson. "The course is excellent and the weather even better."

Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell - second to Germany's Martin Kaymer in The Race to Dubai - is three shots off the pace after carding a five under 65 to sit alongside English duo Oliver Wilson and Kenneth Ferrie, Irishman Damien McGrane, Rhys Davies of Wales and Korean Nam Young in sixth place.

Defending champion Grégory Bourdy finished the day four under with Ian Poulter a shot further back.


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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
T2DYSON, SimonENG18-21
4KANG, AnthonyUSA18-20
5MCDOWELL, GraemeNIR18-19
6MCILROY, RoryNIR18-18

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