Date: May 04, 2007

Brown in contention

Australian rookie Mitchell Brown shot a flawless six-under-par 66 to be two shots off the pace after the opening round of the Maekyung Open in Korea. The 21-year-old, who only turned professional at the end of last year, admitted he had intended to withdraw from the event after going five straight tournaments on the Asian Tour without making a cut but was glad to have changed his mind. “I didn&apost really want to come initially. I thought about going home to get my head sorted. However, a couple of my mates and my dad asked me to come, so it&aposs all good,” he said. “It&aposs been average the past month or so. I&aposve been pretty hard on myself and it&aposs good to turn it around. I&aposm taking a different approach this week and I am being a bit more relaxed out there instead of worrying about the game.” Brown got off to a perfect start with a 50-foot putt for birdie on the 10th hole (his first) and never looked back, adding three birdies on the par fives at the Nam Seoul course. Brown sits behind Chinese star Liang Wen-chong, whose eight-under yielded one eagle, eight birdies and two bogeys. New Zealand&aposs Richard Lee and Korea&aposs Yu Jong-goo share third place with matching 68s, followed by Scotland&aposs Ross Bain and another local stalwart Lee Gun-hee a further stroke back. Singaporean No.1 Mardan Mamat is among a group tied for seventh place with Australian Ashley Hall. Liang is in career best form having claimed his maiden Asian Tour title at the Clariden Leu Singapore Masters in March and is now ranked second on the Tour&aposs UBS Order of Merit. “I putted really well and coped on the fast greens. I was driving and hitting my irons solid all day and converted most of my putts for birdies from inside 15 feet,” he said. “I&aposve been playing well since last week and hopefully I can carry the form through the weekend.” Leading first round scores from the Maekyung Open -8: Liang Wen-chong (China) -6: Mitchell Brown (Australia) -4: Richard Lee (New Zealand), Yoo Jong-Gu (Korea) -3: Lee Gun-Hee (Korea), Ross Bain (Scotland) -2: Mardan Mamat (Singapore), Ashley Hall (Australia), Lee In-Woo (Korea), Lee Jin-myung (Korea), Eddie Lee (New Zealand), Choi Gwang-soo (Korea), Shin Yong-jin (Korea), Kim Kyung-tae (Korea), Lu Wei-Chih (TPE) -1: Thaworn Wiratchant (Thailand), Lu Wen-teh (Chinese Taipei), Choi Jin-ho (Korea), Choi Joon-woo (Korea), Suk Jong-Yul (Korea), Choi Sang-ho (Korea), Bae Sang-moon (Korea), Park Jun-won (Korea)