Blake Snyder claimed the outright lead after the opening round of the Volvo China Open Hong Kong International Qualifying at the Hong Kong Golf Club today.

The American started in the first group at 7:32am when the weather was misty and damp, and reached the turn in an unremarkable score of one under par 32.

The 24-year-old from Seattle then birdied four holes on the back nine to take control of the tournament and to finish with a bogey-free round of five under par 65.

I actually enjoyed the conditions today as the drizzle and damp weather reminded me of home,” said Snyder. “I was actually hoping for weather like this because I’m from Seattle. It wasn’t too cold out there but the temperature dropped a bit towards the end of the round.

“The course was quite challenging but it’s in very good condition, so if I missed a shot it was still manageable. The greens were very good and the condition of the golf course as a whole certainly contributed to bogey-free golf.

Fellow American Garrett Sapp lies just one shot out of the lead after a round of 66 that included four bogeys.

Sapp celebrated his 31st birthday when he arrived in Hong Kong two days ago and said he would like to extend the celebration with qualification to the RMB 20 million Volvo China Open.

I actually played in Volvo China Open in Tianjin in 2013,” Sapp commented. “I would love to be able to get back into the event again, as it was one of the highlights of my career.

After a two-birdie, two-bogey front nine the Californian picked up three shots in four holes, which included an eagle three on the par-five 14th where he holed his third shot from a greenside bunker.

The leading three players after tomorrow’s final round will win a place in the Volvo China Open in April, which will take place at Topwin Golf and Country Club in Beijing.

Three players stand at three under par, including Sung Mao-chang from Chinese Taipei, who completed a bogey-free round of 67. Mao said that he was very relaxed throughout the round as his nephew was working as his caddie.

Finland’s Janne Kaske started and finished the back nine with bogeys, which somewhat spoiled an otherwise excellent round of golf. The Bangkok-based pro will be a strong contender for tomorrow’s final round.

Also on three under par 67 is 42-year-old Lien Lu-sen from Chinese Taipei, who lost out in a play-off for the third spot last year at Palm Island Golf Club.

My long game was very good today but I could convert the putts,” said Lien, who has a rich history of victories in Taiwan. “I saw my name on the leaderboard on the 13th and maybe tried a little bit too hard coming in to catch the leaders, as I was trying to make up for last year.


(2017-2-23 Hong Kong)


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