Eight golfers share lead in Seoul

This handout photo provided by AsiaOne shows Kalem Richardson of Australia during the 31st GS Caltex Maekyung Open Golf Championship at the Nam Seoul Golf and Country Club in Seoul

Eight players including an unheralded Aussie who turned pro less than a year ago shared the lead after the first round of the GS Caltex Maekyung Open in Seoul on Thursday.

The leaders all shot four-under-par 68s at Namseoul Country Club, the third stop on the OneAsia tour, which has 14 events this year with a total purse of over $16 million.

Australian Kalem Richardson, Japan's Koichi Kitamura, Hu Mu of China, American Garrett Sapp and South Koreans Kang Kyung-Nam, Park Sang-Hyun, Kang Wook-Soon and Hur In-Hoi were all jostling for position.

But it was Richardson, 24, who stole the limelight in his first full OneAsia event.

"I sneaked out and played nine holes on Tuesday and then had a full practice round yesterday," he said. "Funnily enough it wasn't very good then. I didn't play very well at all, but today was different," he told OneAsia.

"I really enjoyed myself out there today. Things just went sort of well."

Richardson, who only turned pro in August, added: "The big difference between playing as an amateur and a professional is around the greens.

"You just can't afford to let anything slip around the greens. You really have to try and make everything," he said.

At the other end of the age and experience spectrum but also atop the leader board was veteran Kang Wook-soon, 45, who rolled back the years with a blemish-free round.

The well-travelled Kang topped the Asian Tour's Order of Merit in 1996 and 1998 and was also the first man to make half a million dollars on that tour in career earnings.

Hu, who was joint sixth in the opening event of the season, in Jakarta, said: "It's been there all year. I just stayed really really calm out there.

"I played here the last two years and struggled a bit because my ball striking just wasn't there. Coming into this year my goal was just to improve."

Defending champion Kim Kyung-Tae, who also won in 2007 and was runner-up in 2010, was well placed after shooting a 70.

Leading scores:

68 - Kalem Richardson (AUS), Hur In-Hoi (KOR), Koichi Kitamura (JPN), Kang Wook-Soon (KOR), Park Sang-Hyun (KOR), Kang Kyung-Nam (KOR), Garrett Sapp (USA), Hu Mu (CHN)

69 - Kim Woo-Chan (KOR), Shin Yong-Jin (KOR), Kim Bi-O (KOR), Hwang In-Choon (KOR), Park No-Seok (KOR), Jamie Arnold (AUS), Lee Jung-Hwan (KOR)

70 - Jason Kang (USA), Maxwell McCardle (AUS), Douglas Holloway (NZL), Jin Daxing (CHN), Cho Min-Gyu (KOR), Choi Ho-sung (KOR), Kim Seung-Hyuk (KOR), Kim Kyung-Tae (KOR), Lee Sang-Hee (KOR), Jung Ji-Ho (KOR), Lee Seong-Ho (KOR), Park Jun-Won (KOR)