Lee leads Asian Amateur in bid to make Masters


South Korea’s Lee Soo-min stormed into first place after Round 1 of this year’s Asian Amateur Championship, finishing at 7-under-par 65 at the Singapore Island Country Club.

The 17-year-old carded six birdies and an eagle at the ninth, his last hole of the day, to take him to the top of the leaderboard after 18 holes.

An invitation to the 2012 Masters Tournament awaits the champion this week, with both the winner and the runner(s)-up earning places in International Final Qualifying for the Open Championship.

Defending champion Hideki Matsuyama of Japan is two shots back.

Lee took the overnight lead after a day of damp, humid conditions that included a one-hour delay for inclement weather just 10 minutes after the morning’s first shot was struck.

Despite the interruption, all 120 players finished their rounds with 26 carding sub-par totals.

“This course suits me because it is narrow and suits my playing style – I am better in my long game,” Lee said.

“I’m really pleased with today’s result and hope it continues until Sunday. I have my sights firmly set at a place in next year’s Masters, which will keep me motivated over the next few days.”

Matsuyama, holder of the Masters Silver Cup for low amateur this year at Augusta Natinal, led the following pack for second place at 5 under par.

Then 19-year-old picked up where he left off last year by carding a score of 67 with four birdies and an eagle on the 16th.

A total of 120 players are taking part from a record 35 participating Asia Pacific Golf Confederation countries.