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September 25, 2009

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Ailing Lam shares Asia-Pacific lead

SINGAPORE'S Lam Chih Bing fired a five-under 66 to share the first-round lead with Japan's Tatsuya Haraguchi at the Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open yesterday, just three days after being hit in the head by a countryman during a practice round.

Lam carded six birdies against a lone bogey at the Joyo Country Club in Kyoto, Japan. Haraguchi had five birdies in a bogey-free round at the 6,352-yard, par-71 course.

Four golfers, including Japan's Tomohiro Kondo, were a further stroke back at four-under.

Lam was injured in a freakish accident which could have blinded him in one eye after Mardan Mamat accidentally hit him in the face with a driver on Monday.

"I'm just very happy that I got to tee off today and it's an even bigger bonus that I played good," Lam said.

Lam was struck near his right eye as Mardan took a practice swing, not realizing another player was so close. Doctors elected not to suture the cut because it was too close to Lam's eye.

"I was standing on the first tee box waiting to tee off and the next thing I was lying on the ground (wondering) if it's the end of my golf career," the 32-year-old Lam told the Asian Tour news. "Thank God when I removed my hands from my right eye, I...could still see."

Much of the attention was on Japanese teenager Ryo Ishikawa, who struggled with his game and was tied for 54th after a two-over 73.

Ishikawa, who started from the 10th hole, had bogeys on Nos. 12 and 15. He birdied the par-five first after the turn and then had back-to-back bogeys on 4 and 5 before a birdie on the par-four sixth.

American Anthony Kang was tied for 44th at one-over, while Chinese star Liang Wenchong had a 68 to sit two strokes off the lead with Asian Tour regulars Terry Pilkadaris and Rick Kulacz of Australia.


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