South Koreas Han leads by a stroke in China Open


2009 European Tour

CHENGDU, China – South Korea’s Han Chang-won racked up six birdies on the front nine to take the first-round clubhouse lead by a stroke in the China Open on Thursday.

Han shot an 8-under 64 at Luxehills International Country Club in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province in southwestern China.

One stroke behind were Northern Ireland’s Gareth Maybin, England’s James Morrison, Welshman Bradley Dredge and Denmark’s Soren Kjeldsen.

Heavy mist in the morning led to an hour’s delay in play, and 24 players will have to complete the round early Saturday, including South Africa’s Keith Horne at 7 under with four holes to go.

New Zealand’s Steven Alker, South Korea’s Choi Jin-ho and Spain’s Sergio Garcia followed with bogey-free 66s.

Also at 6 under were Jeev Milka Singh of India, Joost Luiten of the Netherlands, Richie Ramsay of Scotland, Fredrik Andersson Hed of Sweden, Gregory Havret of France, and Danny Lee of New Zealand.

Three-time major champion Padraig Harrington opened and closed with birdies but two bogeys left him with 71.

Defending champion Y.E. Yang had five birdies against one bogey to finish at 68.

China’s highest-ranked golfer, Liang Wenchong, also carded 68 with six birdies and two bogeys.