Baldwin in front at golf's China Open

April 19, 2012 at 7:15 AM
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TIANJIN, China, April 19 (UPI) -- Matthew Baldwin shot a bogey-free 7-under-par 65 Thursday in taking the first-round lead at the European Tour's Volvo China Open.

All seven of Baldwin's birdies came on par 4s. Six golfers are right behind at 6-under and seven more are at 5-under 67. Forty-three players are within four strokes of Baldwin.

Scorers were generally higher in the afternoon when winds picked up. Among the leaders, only Jbe Kruger had a later start Thursday.

Baldwin opened with a birdie and was 3-under after seven holes. He recorded three consecutive birdies over Nos. 9-11 and moved into the lead by himself with a birdie at the 489-yard, par 4 17th.

The group at 6-under includes Joost Luiten, who overcame a double bogey at the fourth hole and Gary Boyd, who eagled the 575-yard, par-5 12th but also had a bogey.

Also in second are Kruger and Scott Strange, who each were bogey-free, and Fredrik Andersson Hed and Jean-Baptiste Gonnet, who had one bogey against seven birdies on the day.

China's Guan Tian-Lang, at 13 years and 177 days old, became the youngest player to participate in a European Tour event. He shot 5-over 77, finishing with nine consecutive pars. Guan won the world junior championship last year by 11 strokes.

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