Robert Allenby leads Asia Pacific Classic
SELANGOR, Malaysia (AP) – Australia’s Robert Allenby shot an 8-under 63 on Thursday to take a one-stroke lead over Venezuela’s Jhonattan Vegas after the first round of the Asia Pacific Classic, the second-year event sanctioned by the PGA Tour and Asian Tour.
Allenby birdied four of the first six holes and three of the last four in his bogey-free round at The Mines Resort and Golf Club.
“I got away with a nice par on the 18th. I made lots of nice putts and hit the ball really well all day,” Allenby said. “I had just one wayward tee shot at the last, but I made a good par to save at the last.”
Winless since the 2009 Australian Masters, Allenby was a captain’s pick for the upcoming Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne – the 40-year-old Australian’s home course.
“I’ve been playing well for a while, but I just haven’t really put the scores on the board,” Allenby said. “I’ve been making a lot of birdies, but a few others have been slipping in there. So to have a bogey-free round and to shoot 8 under around here is a great score.”
He won his first pro title in Malaysia in the 1992 Perak Masters.
Vegas birdied the final four holes.
“I had a really good round and hit the ball well,” said Vegas, the PGA Tour rookie who won the Bob Hope Classic in January. “I felt like I hit a lot of good putts as well. Hopefully, I can keep the momentum going for the next three days.”
Sweden’s Fredrik Jacobson opened with a 65, and Americans Bo Van Pelt, Cameron Tringale and Jimmy Walker were another stroke back.
“I hit a perfect bunker shot,” said Jacobson, the Travelers Championship winner this summer for his first PGA Tour title. “That was a bit of a nice one to get. It was 25 yards, with the bunker a little left of the green. If I could have upped-and-downed it from there I would have been really happy.”
Mark Wilson, Stewart Cink, Jeff Overton, Scott Stallings and John Senden were four strokes back at 67.
Defending champion Ben Crane shot a 69.
The winner will receive $1.3 million from the $6.1 million purse.