Han retains huge lead at PGA

The hot scoring of Korean Min Kyu Han early on day one of the Australian PGA Championships was always going to be a hard act to follow and so it would prove. Only two of those in the afternoon group were able to get within five shots of the brilliant morning score of 62 produced by Han, the 26 year old taking full advantage of his rather enticing day one tee time of 6.25am.

Late in the day Henry Epstein, fresh from a final round of 67 at the Australian Open at the NSW Golf Club last Sunday, and Stuart Appleby produced rounds of 67 and will begin their morning rounds tomorrow boosted by the fact that they faced the more difficult conditions this afternoon and did well.

One of the pre tournament favourites, Appleby, appeared as a likely contender to match that of the better morning efforts when he moved to four under through 12 holes but no sooner had he done that than he stumbled with a bogey at the 13th after finding the water from the tee. The runner up at last week's Australian Open recovered with a birdie at the 17th to move back to four under and that was where he finished.

The conditions certainly became testing as the early morning north easterly sea breeze turned to the northwest and although some would threaten something better by the time the opening day's play was done the five of the leading seven players all came from the morning group.

Whichever way you look at it, Han's round was by far the best of the day however. 11 birdies were included in his round suggesting that a round of 59 in the layout's debut as a tournament venue was possible. Han endeared himself to the assembled media when he responded to a question regarding the profile, if any, he has in his homeland of Korea. "They point and say there goes Min Kyu Han," he said making light of the question and indicating by his response that his efforts in Korea to date in his professional career have hardly been noteworthy.

Han, also jokingly, suggested when asked that he would like a score of 8 under tomorrow.  Nothing was lost in interpretation as the 26 year old, who spent five years shaping his game in the US before turning professional, clearly possesses not only a great golf game but a sense of humour which is just as good. You couldn't help but like him.

So the opening day belonged to an unheralded Korean whose name, by tomorrow, will be splashed across Korean sporting websites and newspapers. Whatever way you look at it his round was particularly impressive and the PGA of Australia will be pleased that the concept of OneAsia has yielded a significant early result.

Han leads by four over Ryan Haller with a further shot back to Matthew Griffin, Scott Strange, Andrew Dodt, Henry Epstein and Stuart Appleby.


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Bruce Young
About The Author : Bruce Young

A multi-award winning golf journalist, Bruce's extensive knowledge of and background in the game of golf comes from several years caddying the tournament circuits of the world, marketing a successful golf course design company and as one of Australia's leading golf journalists and commentators.

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