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D.H. Lee leads Koreans at Shriners PGA, one shot behind leader

October 22, 2015
D.H. Lee of South Korea hits from the fairway on the ninth hole during the first round of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open golf tournament Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

D.H. Lee of South Korea hits from the fairway on the ninth hole during the first round of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open golf tournament Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

By Brian Han

South Korean golfer D.H. Lee is not a name you see very often near the top of a PGA Tour leaderboard, but following a birdie barrage at the Shriners Hospital for Children Open on Thursday, he made his presence known.

He opened up with six birdies in his first seven holes during the first round.

Every time he hit a green, his putter was automatic. Whether it was from 28 feet on the zig-zagging par-4 seventh or an approach shot stuffed to inches like on the fourth, his putts all seemed to roll into the cup.

The 28-year-old is not a particularly long hitter, but the TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas, Nev. is just as rewarding to those with accurate iron shots.

Lee cooled off a bit on the back nine to finish with a 6-under 65 to put him just one shot behind the leaders David Hearn, Michael Thompson and Mark Hubbard.

Korean American Kevin Na is coming off of a heart breaking playoff defeat at the Frys.com Open just last week against Argentinian rookie Emiliano Grillo. His single victory on the PGA Tour came at the Shriners in 2011.

Since then he’s played some of the best golf of his career, but still seeks his elusive second win on tour.

Na put together a solid 3-under 68 to tie for 39th after a round that consisted of five birdies and two bogeys.

His ball striking has been excellent leading to fairways hit and greens in regulation stats that exceed the field average by a significant percentage.

Finally, Korean American rookie Michael Kim also had a good round, but triple bogeyed the seventh after he missed the green on a wedge shot into the green. He then proceeded to scull a three-yard chip over the green to leave himself a 20-yard chip back to the hole.

It was the only blemish on the scorecard. The 22-year-old shot a 1-under 70 and is currently tied for 78th.

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