Hoey sizzles on low-scoring day in Thailand

Thu Feb 12, 2015 6:59am EST
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(Reuters) - Michael Hoey made the best use of tranquil conditions at the Black Mountain Golf Club to post a course record eight-under-par 64 and lead the Thailand Classic by a stroke after the opening round on Thursday.

The Northern Irishman's blemish-free round, studded with eight birdies, kept him ahead of Spaniard Carlos Pigem, Taiwan's Chien-yao Hung and American David Lipsky in the $2 million tournament, co-sanctioned by the European and Asian Tours.

"We had 10 or 11 holes with not much wind, which was an advantage teeing off early," five-time European Tour winner Hoey said.

"I hit the ball well, and it suits me that there's a bit of length off the tee; you can carry a few corners and reach the par fives in two. It has been a long time since I had a bogey-free card.

"To be bogey-free and have no fives on the card -- and a course record -- is a nice start. I'm swinging the club well so hopefully I can put three more good rounds together and see what happens."

India's Shiv Kapur gave himself a nice birthday present with a bogey-free round of 66 to sit alone in fifth spot, two strokes behind the leader.

"It's a nice present. You wake up in the morning hoping for a good day because you don't want to be grumpy for the rest of the day," said Kapur, who turned 33 on Thursday. "I couldn't have asked for a better result."

A stroke further adrift were eight players including local hope Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez, who holed his approach shot on the ninth for an eagle.

The big-hitting Kiradech scorched the course but his round was spoiled after he found water and a bunker down the 18th for a double bogey.

(Writing by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Justin Palmer)

Michael Hoey of Northern Ireland gestures after playing out of a bunker on the fifth hole during the second round of the British Open Championship at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, northern England in this file photo taken on July 18, 2014. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth