"Flower power" Duangdecha blossoms in Hong Kong

Updated: Nov 13, 2009, 10:38 AM IST

Hong Kong: Thailand`s Udorn Duangdecha stole the thunder from a quality field to lead the Hong Kong Open with a dazzling eight-under-par first round 62.

Dutchman Robert-Jan Derksen was one behind while holder Lin Wen-tang of Taiwan shared third place on 64 with Frenchman Gregory Bourdy, Briton David Dixon and Thai Thongchai Jaidee at the USD 2.5 million event co-sanctioned by the European and Asian tours.

Race to Dubai leader Lee Westwood carded a 66, a score matched by fellow Briton Rory McIlroy who is second on Europe`s money list.

Asia`s first major winner Yang Yong-eun of South Korea and former British Open champion Mark O`Meara also fired four-under-par 66s.

Derksen won a gold bar for a hole-in-one in Hong Kong two years ago and he set the early pace after birdying five of the last six holes, his only blemish a three-putt at the 16th.

However Asian Tour member Duangdecha, dressed in bright `flower power` trousers, charged into the lead after reeling off 10 birdies at Fanling.

The 39-year-old only missed out on the course record after bogeying his final hole, the par-four ninth.

Lucky Pants

"They are my lucky pants," the flamboyant Duangdecha told reporters. "I always play in colourful trousers and I have enough in the wardrobe to last me all weekend.

"(A 62) might surprise everyone but I don`t think it surprised me too much. It was a shame to finish the round by three-putting the last but I`m delighted with the round."

Hong Kong debutant Westwood and McIlroy are locked in a battle for the USD 1.5 million bonus on offer for Europe`s number one at the season-ending Dubai World Championship.

The Englishman leads Northern Irishman McIlroy by around $80,000 after the 20-year-old climbed to second in the money list by finishing fourth at last week`s WGC-Champions Tournament in Shanghai.

"The greens are puzzling," said Westwood who finished tied for eighth in China. "I am at a disadvantage having only played the course once before (in practice).

"It is pretty obvious tee to green but there is a big advantage having played a few tournaments around here so to start with a 66 I am delighted."

McIlroy was equally positive after his round.

Bureau Report