• Volvo China Open, Round One

12-year-old Ye Wo-cheng fails to impress on debut

ESPN staff
May 2, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Ye Wo-cheng began well but struggled during the second half of the day © Getty Images
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Volvo China Open leaderboard

Ye Wo-cheng endured a difficult debut to the European Tour after carding a seven-over 79 in the opening round of the Volvo China Open.

The 12-year-old made history by becoming the youngest player to compete in a European Tour event on Thursday - eclipsing the record by almost a year set by Guan Tianlang at the same event 12 months ago.

The Chinese amateur made a solid start after he parred the opening three holes beginning on the back nine. He then dropped his first shot of the day on the 13th but recovered well to register a birdie on the following hole.

With back-to-back bogeys on the 16th and 17th, Ye kicked off the front nine with another pair of bogeys. He superbly chipped in from long-range on the sixth par-five - despite it being a bogey - and four pars and two further bogeys saw him end the first round tied for 146th on the leaderboard.

Chinese compatriot Dou Ze-cheng fared better than Ye as the 16-year-old recorded a two-under-par 70 to finish tenth at the end of day one. "I was bit nervous at the start, had a bogey on the third but then came back really well with four birdies," Dou said. "This is obviously by far the biggest event I have ever entered, so I am very excited to be part of it."

The clubhouse lead was shared by Kiradech Aphibarnrat - who won his maiden European Tour title at the Malaysian Open in March - and Raphael Jacquelin, with both players scoring a round 68, but Robert-Jan Derksen later in the day went two shots clear of the duo with a 66.

"I have played well for three or four weeks in a row now, and will try to finish high up the leaderboard again this week. In this type of wind you don't know how you will do, but I'll just try to do my best," Aphibarnrat said.

Jacquelin triumphed at the Open de Espana last month, and the Frenchman said: "It's a great start, any time you have no bogeys and four birdies, it's always a good day."

Englishman Lee Slattery is three shots off the leader, while Mark Foster is two-under and in 11th.

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