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Cejka and early riser Rose enjoy strong starts in Thailand

Germany's Alex Cejka lines up a putt on the 17th green during the second day of the European Tour Hong Kong Open golf tournament December 6,
Germany's Alex Cejka lines up a putt on the 17th green during the second day of the European Tour Hong Kong Open golf tournament December 6,

(Reuters) - Journeyman Alex Cejka celebrated his first wedding anniversary with a one-shot lead over world number four Justin Rose after the opening round of the Thailand Golf Championship on Thursday.

Germany's Cejka, winless since 2002, reeled off eight birdies for an unblemished card at the Amata Spring Country Club on the outskirts of Bangkok to lead Rose and local hope Arnond Vongvanij.

"Nice to shoot a good score on a good day," the 43-year-old said after carding an eight-under-par 64 on his first wedding anniversary with wife Alyssa.

Reluctant early riser Rose, who won his first major at the U.S. Open in June, missed only one green in regulation and nailed seven birdies en route to a near-flawless 65.

"It was an early alarm call this morning at 4.30. Didn't enjoy that part but once I got out here to the golf course it was a perfect morning for golf, nice and cool to start with," the Englishman said.

"Our group all birdied the 10th hole and I felt like we got off to a really nice start. It was a perfect morning to play golf, and the type of morning you wanted to capitalize on."

Charl Schwartzel began his title defense with a 68, three-putting his last hole on the ninth for one of the two bogeys of the day.

"I felt like I hit the ball pretty decent. Just the putting let me down," the South African said.

Spaniard Sergio Garcia also carded 68 while world number three Henrik Stenson of Sweden, 2012 Masters champion Bubba Watson, and fellow American Rickie Fowler opened with matching 70s.

Arnond, calling on his knowledge of his home course, needed only 23 putts in his stellar round in the $1 million full-field Asian Tour tournament.

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi, editing by Stephen Wood)

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