Dongmin Lee. Asian Tour
By Matt Smith
South Korean home favourite Dongmin Lee ensured experience counted as he shot a six-under 65 to take command of the Maekyung Open at Namseoul Country Club.
Dongmin holds a one-shot lead over compatriot Hyungjoon Lee, and he drew on the experience of having played this event many times — as the Asian Tour returned to Korea for the first time since 2019.
“I have a lot of experience on this course, so I know exactly where I shouldn’t go and where I should go,” said Dongmin, 36, a two-time winner on the Korean PGA Tour and a professional for 20 years.
“A first-day six-under is great. I hope I can play the rest of the tournament this well. It’s my best score in this course. Namseoul is difficult, but I played aggressively, and things worked out well.”
Hyungjoon added: “I teed up early in the morning on the back nine. There was no wind really until the second [11th] and third [12th] holes. It was easy to make a birdie. I felt confident.
“I had about a three-week break after the season opening tournament and I spent a lot of time practising my putting to get ready for Namseoul. I really wanted to work on my feel and touch. I practised at quite a lot of different venues and came to Namseoul four times.”
Bio Kim, winner of this event in 2012, and Junggon Hwang, a four-time winner in Japan, fired 67s.
Thailand’s Natipong Srithong carded a 68 along with Asian Tour Qualifying School graduates Neil Schietekat from South Africa and Ireland’s Kevin Phelan, as well as India’s Khalin Joshi, Canadian Richard Lee and Koreans Doyeob Mun, Junghwan Lee and Yoon Chung.
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