McKibbin leads Singapore Classic

Northern Ireland’s Tom McKibbin set the early pace at the Singapore Classic by posting a bogey-free eight-under-par 64 at the Laguna National Golf Resort Club on Thursday.

Chinese amateur Ding Wenyi continued to underline his growing credentials as he signed for a 66 to trail McKibbin by two shots in sixth place at the event, DP World Tour’s first in Singapore since 2014.

The 18-year-old became the first male golfer from China and just the fifth international player to win the US Junior Amateur Championship last year.

McKibbin, who is chasing his first win on the DP World Tour, fired two birdies in his opening four holes in his back-nine 10.

He birdied 18 before storming ahead after the turn with three successive birdies starting from the par-four second before closing with another two birdies on seven and nine.

“I navigated the course well and it’s a nice way to start with eight birdies and no bogeys,” McKibbin said. “Life’s pretty nice if you’re playing well, it’s different if you’re not.”

“I went out there after the practice rounds and the course is pretty tricky if you find the wrong spots on the greens,” he added.

Meanwhile Ding, who picked up golf at the age of six under his father’s influence, overcame his early jitters after mixing a bogey and a birdie in his first three holes, by marking his card with six more birdies for a 66.

“I was feeling very nervous when I stepped up to the tee this morning. But I managed to calm myself down after that only bogey and played a steady round of golf after that,” said the towering teen, who stands 1.9 metres (6 ft 2 in) tall.

“Singapore is like a second home for me, so I really enjoy being here. Tomorrow, I hope to play even better than today.” — Agence France-Presse