Thongchai Jaidee fires 62 to take lead at Hoag Classic

Thongchai Jaidee fires 62 to take lead at Hoag Classic

Thai golfer Thongchai Jaidee. (File photo)
Thai golfer Thongchai Jaidee. (File photo)

NEWPORT BEACH - Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand matched a career low with a 9-under-par 62 to take the first-round lead at the Hoag Classic on Friday in Newport Beach, California.

Thongchai is one shot above Irishman Padraig Harrington and England's Paul Broadhurst as several players went low at Newport Beach Country Club. Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain is fourth after posting a 6-under 65.

Thongchai went out in 28 after mixing an eagle with five birdies. He was 10 under through 15 holes and could have shot a 59 with two birdies over his last three. But he incurred his only bogey of the day at No. 16 and finished par-par.

"It's pretty good to be 9 under par today," Thongchai said. "I never hit that low in a normal round. Hopefully we keep my performing like this until, you know, Sunday I hope."

The 54-year-old Thai golfer was back on the course after taking several weeks off to rehab a back injury that he said started bothering him as early as 2008.

"Lucky we do an MRI, check everything in my whole (back). Doctor said that not the worst thing, get back to work," Thongchai said. "Like I do a lot of treatment for 14 (days), get me back better, a lot better now ... Yeah, that guy helped me a lot to get back here."

Broadhurst had nine birdies and one bogey, while Harrington played bogey-free golf with four birdies on each nine.

Harrington was asked about the rain and cool temperatures forecast for the area this weekend.

"If I wanted Irish weather, I would have stayed in Ireland," Harrington said. "I'm getting it anyway and I'm in California. ... Yeah, look, it's a bit of -- it will be an advantage to me if it's tough conditions. If the course plays longer, it's going to be an advantage to me."

Highlights | Round 1 | Hoag Classic (Video: PGA TOUR Champions)

Do you like the content of this article?