HAIKOU, China—Singapore’s Quincy Quek and America’s Shotaro Ban both fired opening, 6-under 65s to lead the charge at the Haikou Classic, the 11th event of the 14-tournament PGA TOUR Series-China season, before play was suspended due to darkness with 12 players yet to complete their rounds.
Chinese Taipei’s Weihsuan Wang carded a 66 to share third with Americans Jeffrey Kang and Daniel Yang and Canadian Peter Campbell. Both Campbell and Kang were 7-under through 16 holes but dropped out of the lead after they finished 2-over on their final two holes.
Quek, who resides in tropical Singapore and is no stranger to the heat, managed to get off to a great start on the difficult Sandbelt Trails Course at the renowned Mission Hills Haikou resort.
The 32-year-old veteran teed off on No. 10 and made only one par in his opening nine holes. Fortunately, they were mostly birdies, and Quek managed to make the turn at 4-under.
“I started off with two birdies and then I dropped a shot on the next two holes, so (I) went back to square and then I hit it close on 14 and birdied that,” said Quek, who is currently 32nd on the Order of Merit. “Then I made a long birdie putt on 15 and birdied 17 and 18, so I think getting off to a good start on the front nine is quite key.”
Despite admitting to missing some birdie chances on the back nine, Quek still picked up three birdies, including closing with two in a row to put himself in a good position heading into day two.
“I think I gave myself a lot of chances, and I set myself up with quite a lot of short putts for birdie—and that definitely helped keep the momentum going,” said Quek. “On the back nine, a few birdie chances kind of slipped, but overall the game was under control.”
Ban played golf at the University of California, Berkeley and is also hoping to make a big jump on the Order of Merit. Currently ranked 72nd, he is hoping to keep the momentum going after carding seven birdies and just one bogey in his opening round.