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Three-way tie at the top in Madrid

Three-way tie at the top in Madrid

Wu Ashun, Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Darius van Driel held a share of the lead after the first round of the 2022 acciona Open de España presented by Madrid, with all three players producing fireworks in the closing stages of their 63s.


Morning starter Wu closed his round with a hat-trick of gains to head into the clubhouse as the early leader on eight under par.

Thailand's Aphibarnrat caught him at the summit late in the day after reeling off five straight birdies towards the end of his round.

Dutchman Van Driel also saved his best until last, holing his birdie putt from almost 30 feet on the ninth green to make it a three-way tie at the top of the leaderboard.

Just one shot behind the leading trio were home favourite Jon Rahm, Frenchman Matthieu Pavon and Swede Joakim Lagergren.

England's Daniel Gavins pulled off perhaps the most spectacular moment of the day at the ninth, bouncing back from a quadruple-bogey eight on the previous hole with an ace.

World Number Six Rahm, meanwhile, produced a series of magic moments in his 64, drawing huge cheers from the bumper crowds with a 33-foot eagle putt and a chip-in birdie.

China's Wu started at the tenth tee and made a good par save on the short 11th before opening his birdie account from eight feet at the 12th.

He picked up two more birdies at the 14th and 16th, holing putts from around six feet on both occasions.

The four-time DP World Tour winner rolled in his lengthy birdie putt at the second before making another gain from close range on the fourth to get to five under.

He then closed his first round in style, sinking his birdie attempts at the seventh, eighth and ninth to head into the clubhouse on eight under.

Wu has been nursing a neck injury and missed the last two DP World Tour events but is in great shape as he bids to add a second victory of 2022 to the Magical Kenya Open presented by Absa title he won in March.

He said: "The injury was my neck and I think it was me sleeping bad. 

"It’s not a big problem, but I took two weeks off, so didn’t play Dunhill or the French Open, so stayed in France with my friend, had some rest and did a bit of practice but I am happy to come back to Madrid."

Speaking about Thursday's first round, Wu added: "It was a lovely day today. I made eight birdies and no bogeys, so a lovely bogey-free round."

Aphibarnrat recovered from an early bogey with an eagle at the fourth and birdies on the fifth and seventh.

He began the back nine with a birdie from five feet at the tenth before dropping another shot on the 12th.

His response was amazing, though, as birdies at the 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th catapulted him into a share of the lead on eight under. 

The 33-year-old then got up and down from a bunker for his par at the last to remain tied at the top.

He said: "I am really pleased with the start, it’s been a while since I played great golf."

Van Driel started on the tenth and mixed five birdies with one bogey on his front nine before making four more gains after the turn to join the lead.

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