(Reuters) - American Dodge Kemmer lived up to his name by avoiding trouble at the tricky Wack Wack Golf Course to shoot a bogey-free six-under-par 66 to take the first round lead at the Solaire Open in Manila on Thursday.
The 25-year-old from Wichita, Kansas, holds a two-shot advantage over Thailand’s Pawin Ingkhapradit at the inaugural $300,000 Asian Tour event.
”Obviously I played well,“ Kemmer told reporters. ”The shots I did miss, I was able to recover from, which was due to luck. I hit a couple of drivers which I missed left but I ended up making birdies on those holes. That was a gift.
“There were a couple of putts on the back which could have made this a perfect round but I missed those. Overall, I‘m very pleased how my round turned out today.”
Kemmer lost his Asian Tour card last year after missing six cuts in 10 events but regained his playing privileges through qualifying school in January.
Looking for an improved showing second time around, Kemmer opted to read a series of psychology books ahead of the new season.
“A lot of it is mental. I get down on myself pretty easily,” he said.
“I‘m trying to stay more level emotionally and that’s easy to do when you are playing well. It will be interesting to see if I can handle my emotions when I hit some adversity this week.”
The Stanford University graduate finished way down the field in the season opener in Myanmar and then missed the cut at the Changmai Golf Classic last time out.
But in the Philippines, he demonstrated his capabilities on a tough track as one of only 12 players to shoot under par on the 7,053 yard East Course.
Mars Pucay led the local charge with a three-under-par 69 to sit joint third along with Taiwan’s Lin Wen-tang.
Juvic Pagunsan, the first Filipino to win the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit title in 2011, fired a level par 72 to sit joint 13th.
Reporting by Patrick Johnston in Singapore; Editing by John O'Brien