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Dazzling Westwood equals Asian Tour record with 12-under 60 in Thailand

updated 12:22 PM EST, Thu December 15, 2011
Lee Westwood hits another arrow straight drive during his superb round of 60 in Thailand.
Lee Westwood hits another arrow straight drive during his superb round of 60 in Thailand.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Lee Westwood leads Thailand Golf Championship after 12-under-par 60
  • John Daly in second place trails world number three by five shots
  • England's Ian Poulter leads Australian Masters after shooting a six-under 65
  • Luke Donald named European Tour Golfer of the Year

(CNN) -- World number three Lee Westwood produced the lowest round of his career -- a sparkling 12-under-par 60 -- to lead the inaugural Thailand Golf Championship Thursday.

Westwood carded an eagle and 10 birdies at the Amata Spring Country Club near Bangkok to take a five-shot lead over American John Daly after the first round.

Westwood's round equaled the Asian Tour record as he took advantage of superb play from tee to green by holing a string of putts.

"It's one of the best rounds I've ever played. I've never shot a 60 before," Westwood told AFP.

"I was just on a roll. I hit a lot of fairways and my putting was good. I've been working a lot on my putting," he added.

Former major winner Daly gave brave chase with his round of 65, which included five birdies and an eagle.

Gregory Bourdy of France and Thailan's Thaworn Wiratchant were tied for third after 68s with U.S. Masters champion Charl Schwartzel in a 10-strong group on 69.

U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy was due to play in the $1 million tournament, but pulled out citing illness and fatigue.

Meanwhile, England's Ian Poulter led after the first round of the Australian Masters at Victoria Golf Club Thursday with a six-under-par 65.

Hope hope Ashley Hall was his closest challenger, one shot behind in Melbourne.

Poulter is looking to boost his current world ranking of 28 in his final tournament of the year, which has also attracted No.1 Luke Donald.

"I set myself to try and win every week, but obviously that doesn't happen," Poulter told AFP.

Donald was well-placed after a 69, the week after wrapping up the Race to Dubai title to top the money lists on both sides of the Atlantic.

Donald received another honor Thursday as he was named the European Tour Golfer of the Year.

The 34-year-old Englishman beat off the challenge of McIlroy and British Open champion Darren Clarke to win the award.

"Rory's win at Congressional was amazing as was Darren's success in The Open while Charl (Schwartzel) birdieing the final four holes to win the Masters was a truly magical moment in golf. Therefore, to be given the vote ahead of these great players who also had great years is very special indeed," he told the official European Tour website.

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