Foster top after fog descends

Mark Foster topped the first round at the Ballantine’s Championship before fog brought a suspension to play and over five hours of delay.

Mark Foster topped the first round at the Ballantine’s Championship

After play was halted for 50 minutes early in the first round, Singapore-based Foster made a fine start.

He notched an eagle and two birdies leaving the 2003 Dun

hill Championship winner at four-under-par through six and one clear of former European Tour rookie of the year Pablo Larrazabal, Australia’s Marcus Fraser and Filipino Mardan Mamat.

But the thick fog returned to force another suspension with only 39 players able to take to the elevated course with a light breeze not enough to clear the fog with the 18th green barely viable from the clubhouse.

And with over five hours already lost the afternoon starters,

including Volvo China Open winner YE Yang and defending champion Thongchai Jaidee, were unlikely to be able to begin their first rounds.

By that point Korea’s Jang Dong-kyu, Angelo Que of the Philippines and Thai Prayad Marksaeng had progressed to two under and Shell Houston Open champion Anthony Kim, fresh from third place at the Masters, a resurgent Henrik Stenson and last year’s runner-up Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano led a group at one under par.

Foster posted a bogey-free eight-under-par 64 in the second round at the Volvo China Open last week, but three other over-par rounds saw the 34-year-old finish down in 65th after back-to-back missed cuts in Spain and Morocco.

On a cool but windless morning on the traditionally breezy Jeju island, Foster made his move with successive birdies from the second before vaulting to the top of the leaderboard with an eagle at the S-shaped 543-yard par-five fourth.

Playing partner Fraser also profited on the same three holes after recording a hat-trick of birdies, while Mamat began his round with three consecutive gains in calm conditions.

Former French Open champion Larrazabal, 26, set the first round pace in China last week before settling for a first top 10 of the year after a disappointing weekend secured a tie for eighth.

And the 2008 rookie of the year made an equally impressive at Pinx Golf Club after following up a first hole birdie at the par five with gains at three and four before play was halted.

Stenson finished alongside Larrazabal last week after recovering from a missed cut at the Masters and began his first round in spectacular style with an eagle before a second-hole bogey dropped the Swede back into a large contingent one under par.

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