Friday, August 19, 2016

Rookie Ryan leads Czech Masters with 

last-hole birdie

Ryan Evans made a birdie on the final hole to take a one-shot lead in the first round of the D+D REAL Czech Masters in Prague.
The European Tour rookie is playing in just his 21st event but looked very much at home at Albatross Golf Resort as he shot a 66 to move to six under and sit ahead of defending champion Thomas Pieters and Swede Peter Hanson.
Pieters and Hanson had been at the summit for most of the day and looked like they would have the overnight lead all to themselves before Evans - playing in the final group of the day - made his charge up the leaderboard.
The Englishman claimed the 19th card at the Qualifying School in November and while he is still looking for a first top ten, he has made his last three cuts, including securing a tie for 58th at The Open Championship.

Pieters came into his first career defence off the back of a fourth-placed finish at the Men's Olympic Golf Competition and - despite a long flight from Rio de Janeiro - he was able to open up a two-shot lead with two holes to play before recording a double-bogey on the eighth.
Hanson was unblemished in his 67 while Evans recorded seven birdies with a single bogey.
This week's event presents the penultimate chance for players to secure points towards Ryder Cup qualification and while Matthew Fitzpatrick - who currently holds the final spot - was just three off the lead, fellow Englishman Andy Sullivan struggled to an opening 75.
Evans made an excellent start with three birdies in his first five holes and while he dropped a shot on the eighth, he picked it straight back up to turn in 33. Further birdies followed on the tenth and 12th before a final gain of the day on the last gave him the lead.
Pieters was dialled in with his irons in the early stages, setting up plenty of birdie opportunities and taking them on the 11th, 13th, 14th, 16th and first. Back-to-back birdies were to follow on the fifth and sixth and at that point, the 24 year old was seven under and had a two-shot lead.
A wild tee-shot on the eighth led to Pieters hitting a provisional, however, and - while he found his first ball - he had to take a drop and a short missed putt resulted in a double-bogey.

Swede Hanson also started on the back nine and he turned in 32 thanks to birdies on the tenth, 12th, 17th and 18th. He could not quite maintain that pace but a birdie on the seventh handed him a bogey-free round and a share of second place.
English duo Robert Coles and Graeme Storm, Scots Scott Jamieson and Craig Lee, Wales' Bradley Dredge, Swede Robert Karlsson and Denmark's Jeff Winther were at four under with 32 players within four shots of the lead.
Australia's Daniel Gaunt made the 31st hole-in-one of the season as he aced the par three third from 227 yards with a three iron on his way to a 69.

68 S Jamieson, C Lee
69 P Lawrie
71 M Warren, D Law, P Shields
73 A McArthur, D Drysdale
74 G Murray, P Whiteford 
82 J McLeary

(including live scoring)




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