SEOUL, South Korea — Five players hold the clubhouse lead after shooting 5-under 67 on Thursday in the incomplete first round of the fog-affected Ballantine’s Championship, with former British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen a stroke back with two holes to play.
Jean Baptiste Gonnet, Johan Edfors, Kieran Pratt, Matthew Baldwin and Kim Gi-wang are leading after fog engulfed the Blackstone course to force a delay of 2 hours, 10 minutes, leaving half the field to complete their rounds early Friday when bad light stopped play.
Oosthuizen, who won the 2010 British Open at St. Andrews, topped the leaderboard at 6 under before dropping two strokes on his back nine.
The South African is the highest ranked player in the field at No. 7. He started his round by making four straight birdies, including holing a 20-foot putt at the fourth, but two further birdies were offset by two bogeys.
Edfors was leading at 5 under after 10 holes when play was halted, and he failed to regain his early momentum.
"I came out of the blocks pretty good to be five under on the front nine after some really, really good golf," Edfors said. "Then we had the fog delay, and after not sleeping well it caught up with me and I felt really tired. And then came back out after the stoppage and three-putted the 11th.
"So the back nine was a bit disappointing, but overall it’s a really good start."
David Howell is in a group on 3 under after having spent two days in bed due to illness that also ruled out any practice rounds.
"I’m delighted because I came down with something on the flight over here," the former two-time Ryder Cup winner said. "I must have picked up a bug or ate something, I guess. But I have been feeling very lousy for a couple of days, so it’s very unusual and I don’t think I’ve ever played a tournament pitching up on a Thursday morning."
Y.E. Yang of South Korea, who became the only Asian-born player to win a major by capturing the 2009 PGA Championship, shot a 70. Defending champion Bernd Weisberger hit a 71, one shot better than Paul McGinley in the European Ryder Cup captain’s first event in nearly three months. Paul Lawrie, the next highest ranked player at No. 38, was struggling at 3 over after 14 holes.