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Japan's Oda in one-shot lead at Thai Open

BANGKOK (AFP) –

This handout picture taken and released on March 14, 2013 by OneAsia shows Koumei Oda at Thana City Golf and Sports Club

This handout picture taken and released on March 14, 2013 by OneAsia shows Koumei Oda of Japan on day one of the Thailand Open at Thana City Golf and Sports Club in Bangkok.

Japan’s Koumei Oda hit 11 birdies for an eight-under-par 64 Thursday, gaining a one-shot lead in the opening round of the $1 million Thailand Open.

Oda, a five-time winner on the Japan Tour, parred the first and then went on a six-hole birdie blitz at the Thana City Golf & Sports Club before bogeying the eighth and making the turn at 31.

He then struck five birdies, offset by a double bogey on the 15th, for one of the best rounds of his career.

Six players shared second place at the OneAsia tournament, co-sanctioned by OneAsia and the Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO).

“I have had 10 birdies before, but not 11,” said Oda, 34, according to a release from the event organisers.

“The secret is I putted very well — just 26 putts for the round.”

South Koreans Hwang Jung-gon and Cho Min-gyu, friends who train together on the Japan Tour, set the pace for the day in strong style.

Hwang, just 19 and already a two-time winner in Japan, birdied the first four holes and got three more on the back for a bogey-free round.

“It was very hot, but I was patient and made no big mistakes. Bogey free is always good,” he said.

Cho, 24, had eight birdies and a bogey.

“I managed to hit my tee shots very well and it is important to be on the fairway here if you want to make birdies,” he said.

SCORES after Round 1

64 – Koumei Oda (JPN)

65 – Hwang Jung-gon (KOR), Cho Min-gyu (KOR), Lucas Lee (BRA), David McKenzie (AUS), John Young Kim (USA), Matthew Griffin (AUS)

66 – Scott Strange (AUS), Wisut Artjanawat (THA), Simon Yates (SCO)

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