MUSCAT, Oman (Asian Tour News) — Yonggu Shin took advantage of benign early morning conditions to shoot a six-under-par 66 to take the first round in the inaugural International Series Oman at Al Mouj Golf Thursday.
The Canadian, who first shot to prominence last year when he finished joint second in the Shinhan Donghae Open, carded six birdies and impressively was bogey-free — in the second event of the season on the Asian Tour, and first International Series tournament.
Spanish star Sergio Garcia looked set to join him in first place but made a bogey on his last hole to finish with a 67, along with Sadom Kaewkanjana from Thailand.
American Andy Ogletree returned a 68, despite battling illness.
Japan’s Takumi Kanaya, Korean Kyongjun Moon, and Americans Berry Henson and Trevor Simsby shot 69s, while Scott Vincent from Zimbabwe, last year’s International Series Order of Merit winner, was one of 12 players who returned 70.
Meanwhile, Filipino Miguel Tabuena launched his season with a 70 to share ninth spot while compatriot Angelo Que opened with a 71.
Shin breezed through the opening nine holes with birdies on four, five, six and eight, before further gains on 10 and 17.
“I really can’t complain, especially with the conditions out here,” said Shin, better known as Justin Shin.
“I got lucky being out first as the conditions were pretty good on the front nine and I managed to come away four under for those nine holes but then the wind picked up in the afternoon and made it tricky, so really happy to come away without any dropped shots.
“I walked off at 18 and that was the first time I realised I was leading so I definitely can’t be unhappy with that. I think as the wind continues to pick up that score will be difficult to get near so yeah very happy with the start, now I just want to relax into the rest of the week.”
Garcia began his round on the 10th and was mid-leaderboard before a stunning run of five birdies in six holes starting on the second.
Said the Spaniard: “Obviously delighted. Mainly because my swing didn’t feel great, especially on the front nine, but then I got it going a bit on the back nine. Yeah, very happy with the score, especially with the wind picking up and how firm the greens are so very happy.”