Teenager Han Chang-Won reinforced his growing reputation as one of the most exciting prospects in Asia by taking the clubhouse lead on Thursday on the opening day of the $3-million Volvo China Open. The 19-year-old South Korean, who only recently made his professional debut, fired an eight-under-par 64 which included birdies on the last four holes at Luxehills International Country Club, in the southwestern city of Chengdu.
In second place are a clutch of players including Gareth Maybin from Northern Ireland and Englishman James Morrison, who carded 65s in the second event of the season on OneAsia which is being joint sanctioned with the European Tour. South African Keith Horne was one of 24 players unable to finish as darkness fell. He was seven under for his round with four holes to play.
Off-form three-time Major winner Padraig Harrington carded a disappointing 71. Han claimed the 2009 Asian Amateur Championship and won the OneAsia Qualifying School in January by six strokes to earn full playing rights for the 2011 season. “I didn’t really feel any pressure and it was a good finish.” Han made his professional tournament debut at Indonesia PGA Championship, the season-opening event on OneAsia, where he finished in tied for 17th place. “It’s very good weather and I got a bit lucky today,” he said.