Gavin Kyle Green of Malaysia tees off on the 16th hole during the first round of the CJ Cup golf tournament, the US PGA Tour's first foray into South Korea, at Nine Bridges in Jeju Island on October 19, 2017. AFP Photo

GAVIN Kyle Green regained his stride following a subpar outing at last weekend’s CIMB Classic, to finish in joint second at the CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges when he opened with a six-under-par 66.

The 23-year-old is tied with Australian Marc Leishman and Americans Chev Reavie, Patrick Reed and Scott Brown despite collecting two birdies and one bogey.

Gavin took it upon himself to change his putter for the inaugural US$9.25million (RM39.1 million) tournament in South Korea, as the short game became his nemesis that saw the Taiwan Masters champion finish tied 61st at the CIMB Classic at TPC Kuala Lumpur.

“It behaved today, thankfully. It definitely behaved and so far it’s working,” Gavin said.

Competing in the first South Korean tournament on the PGA Tour, Gavin expressed his exuberance over the experience and that “pressure” would not in the slightest bend him.

“I’ve always wanted to come out here. I’ve always wanted to be on the PGA Tour. It’s always been my goal since I was young.”

But Gavin’s assignment is a lot tougher than it seems - he is on a mission to maintain his lead on the Asian Tour Order of Merit, apart from striving to be the first Malaysian to win the money list.

“They’re definitely going to try to push. Everybody wants to win the Order of Merit. In the next couple of months, it’s going to be great.”

Gavin is currently three-shots short of clubhouse leader Justin Thomas, who failed to defend his two-time title at the recently concluded CIMB Classic.

The reigning FedExCup champion, Thomas, opened with a bogey and a par on the first hole only to answer with four birdies and two eagles in the next seven holes as part of a nine-under-par first round 63.

This is the fourth time Thomas’ PGA Tour career has held or shared the first round-lead.

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