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Jamie Donaldson hits route 66 at China Open

-8 T Jaidee (Tha), D Kim (Kor) -6 J Donaldson, P Larrazabal (Spa), W Liang (Chn) -5 S Hong (Kor), Peter Lawrie, D McGrane, C Pavin (US) -4 J Edfors (Swe), M Ilonen (Fin), H Stenson (Swe), Y Yang (Kor)

Jamie Donaldson  lines up a putt on the 16th green at the China Open
Jamie Donaldson lines up a putt on the 16th green at the China Open

Jamie Donaldson fired a six-under-par first-round 66 to sit two shots off the China Open lead as the Welshman bids for his first European Tour title.

Donaldson hit eight birdies, including five in a row on the back nine, as he is one of three players at tied third on the Suzhou Golf Club leaderboard.

"I'm quite happy," said Donaldson. "I played nice pretty much all day so I am happy with six under par."

Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee and South Korea's Dohoon Kim lead on eight-under.

The 34-year-old, who turned professional in 2000, has won three Challenge Tour events in Europe's second-tier tournament while his best finish on the European Tour is joint second at the 2003 Algarve Open.

Donaldson is in the China Open chasing pack with Spanish golfer Pablo Larrazabal and Wen-Chong Liang while United States Ryder Cup skipper Corey Pavin is one shot further back on five-under.

Donaldson admitted: "I've hit a lot of fairways, a lot of greens and I've given myself a lot of chances. It's a good design and the condition of the course is fantastic."

Fellow Welshman Stephen Dodd joins Ryder Cup player Oliver Wilson and five others on three-under with a first round 69 while Bradley Dredge is one shot further back after his first round 70.

Both Rhys Davies and Phillip Price, the 2002 Ryder Cup star, finished back tied for 67th place after a one-over par 73 - as both suffered double-bogey sevens in their back nine at the 12th and 14th respectively.

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see also
Forsyth is top Scot at China Open
15 Apr 10 |  Golf
McDowell opens with a 70 in China
15 Apr 10 |  Golf
Golf on the BBC
01 Jul 11 |  Golf

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