Golf: Korean teenager Joohyung Kim shines at NZ Open

Korean teenage golfer Joohyung Kim lived up to hype to lead after the opening round of the New Zealand Open, keeping a clutch of Australians at bay in wild conditions near Queenstown.

Seventeen-year-old Kim carded a seven-under 64 on Thursday at Millbrook Resort, one of two courses being used for the 101st edition of the Australasian Tour event.

Touted as one of the brightest talents to emerge from Asia, Kim sits a stroke clear of Australians Ben Kennedy, Ben Eccles and Wade Ormsby.

Former winner Kennedy was the only golfer among the leading foursome to play on The Hills course.

Like Kim, he completed his round in the morning, when conditions were at their most unpredictable.

Kiwi Ryan Fox has shook off the jet lag to post a solid two under par. He recorded six birdies and four bogeys to be in a tie for 15th after round one. 

Ryan Fox.
Ryan Fox. Photo credit: Getty

Queenslander Kennedy said it took sharp powers of concentration to adjust to some dramatic changes in wind direction, mixed with bursts of sporadic showers.

At one point, the 2011 champion thought hail was imminent.

"It was a totally different breeze to what we are used to ... a totally different golf course," he said.

"Luckily I didn't have a practice round this week so I just went on what I knew and it was a whole new experience. It was fun, I even got a chance to get home in two on 17 (par-five), so that was fun."

Kim burst into the limelight last November when he become the second youngest player to bag a title on the Asian Tour, winning the Panasonic Open in India.

Sweden's Pernilla Lindberg - the first woman to compete in the men's field - had a forgettable day, going six over for a share of 141st.

AAP/Newshub.

 

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