Westwood leads way in Thailand after shooting first 60

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Lee Westwood shot a magnificent 12-under-par 60 – the best round of his career – to establish a five-shot lead on the opening day of the Thailand Golf Championship.

The Englishman carded 10 birdies and an eagle at the Amata Spring Country Club with American John Daly his closest challenger after a 65.

Frenchman Gregory Bourdy and home hope Thaworn Wiratchant were joint third, eight shots behind Westwood.

The world No 3 set the tone for his round with a blistering start, birdies at one, three, four and five sandwiching an eagle at the par-five second.

He picked up another shot at the seventh to reach the turn in 29 and a further five birdies coming home maintained his momentum.

Despite his brilliance, Westwood could not hide his disappointment at not dipping below 60 – a fabled mark for any golfer.

He said: “I just wanted to get off to a quick start and I did that. I made a dream start and you start thinking about 59, I guess. I came close but not close enough. I messed it up with a few pars.

“I missed on 11 from about 10 feet, left it short, and at 14 I left it short in the middle but you can’t shoot 60 without making a few 15-20 footers and I did that today so no complaints.

“I guess 59 is one of those numbers where if it is meant to be it is meant to be.”

Westwood’s round was even more remarkable given the tricky wind in Chonburi.

“It’s not really a 60 course,” he added. “It was a bit breezy out there.

“(Caddie) Billy (Foster) said he thought he had seen the best round of golf ever when I shot 62 at the Nedbank a few weeks ago but he said that was better today, so I am making progress.

“I have shot a few 61s and 62s but never a 60 so I will have to refocus tomorrow morning and start all over again.”

Daly too can be pleased with his efforts. The 45-year-old birdied the first and the ninth in a steady opening but then blitzed the back nine, with three more birdies and an eagle on the 11th.

Masters champion Charl Schwartzel led a group of players on three under which included Yorkshireman Simon Dyson while Open champion Darren Clarke carded a one-under 71.

Ian Poulter put world No 1 Luke Donald in the shade to seize the lead after the opening round of the 2011 JBWere Australian Masters.

Poulter fired a six-under-par 65 at Victoria Golf Club to gain a one-stroke advantage over local hopeful Ashley Hall.

Peter Lonard, Jarrod Lyle and Matthew Giles were among six players on 67, one shot clear of Rod Pampling and Richard Green and two ahead of Donald.