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Golf | Asia

Ernie Els © Gallo Images

Els, Yang shoot 69 to open Chiangmai



Major winners Ernie Els and Y.E. Yang opened the Chiangmai Classic with 3-under-par 69s to lie four strokes behind leader Prayad Marksaeng of Thailand on Thursday.

Els, looking for his first win this year, played Alpine Golf Resort bogey-free with a short putter, though he will switch to a belly putter for the faster greens at the Masters in two weeks.

"Trying to really squeeze a lot out there today but I didn't quite happen," Els said. "I feel there's a good round out there and I'll keep searching."

Els was fine-tuning for the Masters with his first appearance in Thailand since 2004. He didn't qualify for last year's Masters, ending 18 straight appearances at Augusta National, but has since won his fourth major at the British Open.

Former US Open winner Michael Campbell shot 84 in the Asian Tour event.

Prayad led a trio of players by one shot.

LEADING FIRST-ROUND SCORES

65 – Prayad MARKSAENG

66 – Prom MEESAWAT Jonathan MOORE HU Mu

67 – Jason KNUTZON, Digvijay SINGH Pawin INGKHAPRADIT

68 – Scott HEND Jazz JANEWATTANANOND Matthew STIEGER, Thitiphun CHUAYPRAKONG Carlos PIGEM Adam GROOM, Panuwat MUENLEK, Bryce EASTON

69 – Antonio LASCUNA Pariya JUNHASAVASDIKUL, Ernie ELS, BAEK Seuk-hyun, Shiv KAPUR Thongchai JAIDEE, David LIPSKY, LIN Wen-hong YANG Y. E., SIDDIKUR, LIN Wen-tang

70 – Mithun PERERA KIM Seng-yong Wade ORMSBY Tetsuji HIRATSUKA, Jake HIGGINBOTTOM Mardan MAMAT Udorn DUANGDECHA, Wasin SRIPATTRANUSORN Danny CHIA, Sam CYR, Koichi KITAMURA, Elias BERTHEUSSEN Boonchu RUANGKIT, HUNG Chien-yao Zaw MOE, Scott BARR MO Joong-kyung Varan ISRABHAKDI, CHOO Tze Huang Gaganjeet BHULLAR Chase WRIGHT, Anthony KANG Chapchai NIRAT

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