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Ireland's Damien McGrane sets the pace in South Korea

Meathman boasts an early one-shot lead at Blackstone GC.

Image: Karl Jeffs/AP/Press Association Images

IRELAND’S DAMIEN MCGRANE has the clubhouse leads at the Ballantine’s Championship in South Korea this afternoon.

The Meathman hit a six-under-par round of 66 on the opening day at Blackstone, earning himself a one-shot lead.

McGrane has just one previous European Tour title to his name – the 2008 Volvo China Open. But he carded eight birdies and two bogeys to lead by one shot from England’s Richard Finch and South Korean Park Sang-hyun.

World No 1 Lee Westwood double-bogeyed the final hole of his first round to end day one six shots behind the Irishman.

“I made plenty of birdies and I putted nicely,” McGrane said.

“I holed everything inside 15 feet. I made two bogeys which were out of nowhere really but that’s golf I suppose. The fairways are generous and, just like last week, you make birdies on day one and keep going till the end of the tournament.

“That’s what I started off doing, so hopefully I’ll do it at end of the tournament.”

Finch enjoyed five birdies in a bogey-free round and was pleased with his progress.

He told the European Tour website: “Today I feel like I got up out of the right side of the bed and a few things went my way.

“When I hit putts too hard, and I’m thinking, please hit the hole, it hit the hole and disappeared. That’s a two-shot swing basically.

“You do need that little bit of luck and for things to go your way. Hopefully I still have a bit left in the tank but certainly took advantage today.”

- additional reporting AP

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