Thomas pulls clear in South Korea

Justin Thomas

"It was a weird day", said 23-year-old FedEx Cup champion Thomas, who has been in sizzling form since winning his first major in August and was recently voted PGA Tour player of the Year for 2017. And then I had a seven-hole stretch there where I basically kind of went unconscious.

The reigning FedExCup champion also delivered seven birdies, including four straight on holes 14-17, and overcame two bogeys in his first trip around the course at the first official PGA Tour stop in South Korea.

His second nine was nearly boring by comparison, featuring three birdies and another bogey at the seventh to finish at nine under.

Thomas has won the CIMB Classic in Malaysia twice - in 2015 and 2016 - and says he is comfortable playing overseas. "Hit two really bad wedge shots and got away with them to steal two bogeys", he said.

"And that was pretty much most of my round". "It doesn't matter where you are, and I know that it is very cliche and easier said than done, but you just have to take advantage of the rest and time you have off the course".

Despite starting with a bogey on the 10th - his opening hole - Thomas recovered to finish nine under par and hold a three-shot lead over Ryder Cup team-mate Patrick Reed, Marc Leishman, Chez Reavie, Scott Brown and Malaysia's Gavin Green.

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Thomas's group was followed by the biggest galleries as it contained the returning Korean hero Bae Sang-moon who shot 71 in only his third event since military service, and last week's victor in Malaysia, Pat Perez, who carded 69.

LPGA: Eun-Hee Ji carded 6-under 66 for a three-stroke lead after the first round of the Taiwan Championship in Taipei.

Ji got off to a strong start with back-to-back birdies at the Miramar Golf Country Club, and added four more to finish the round clear of fellow South Korean Sei Young Kim, Megan Khang and Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand. Kiwi Lydia Ko and Azahara Munoz of Spain were among five players to open with 70s.

Former world No. 1 Jason Day of Australia is five strokes adrift after carding a four-under 68 at the US$9.25 million (S$12.5 million), 78-player event.

Fellow Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal shot a 4-under 67 to share second place with Englishman Robert Rock.

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