Thursday, February 22, 2018

European Tour 1QatarMasters 

Rai, Havret and Pepperell share Doha lead

Image of Aaron Rai by courtesy of  Getty Images

Rising young English star Aaron Rai finished with an eagle on the opening day at Doha Golf Club to move into a share of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters lead alongside the more experienced Grégory Havret and Eddie Pepperell.
The 22-year-old from Wolverhampton posted a flawless seven-under 65 in the Qatari capital after reaching the lengthy par five final hole in two before holing a 12ft eagle putt to card the hole's only 3 all day.
Like Rai, Havret also posted a flawless opening round as the Frenchman, who is on course to reach 500 European Tour appearances this season, went on a hot streak with six birdies in eight holes from the sixth – including four in a row – en route to a 65.
Pepperell’s 65, meanwhile is his lowest round since last October’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
Former Ryder Cup player Edoardo Molinari, who chipped in for birdie at the last, and seven-time European Tour winner Alvaro Quiros were a shot back on six under par alongside Englishman Oliver Fisher and Germany’s Marcel Schneider.
Player quotes:
Aaron Rai
“I drove it well and then gave myself a lot of opportunities with the approach play, didn't miss too many greens. It can get very tricky around the greens here with the Bermuda grass being very hard to predict.
“I think we were very fortunate this morning to have it so calm but the course itself is very good. There are some tricky holes but there are some opportunities if you drive it well and have some good approach play.
“It was all pretty steady, I didn't really make too many mistakes. Gameplan-wise, you have to be doing something right and playing some good golf to shoot a 65 so I'll just continue in the same vein and try not to change too much.”
Grégory Havret
“It's a pretty good start. We were lucky the wind didn't pick up today. It's really helpful because we know here regularly the wind is 30-40 kilometres an hour so it's a tough course. The greens are really firm and quick but in those conditions it helps to make some good scores if you are feeling it.
“My iron shots were not the best but good enough to find some good spots on the green to have a fairly good chance to make birdies.
“I was putting well and that's definitely the key. Last week I didn't play much different and I missed the cut by a lot. As soon as you feel your putting is not able to compensate for your mistakes you put more pressure on your driving and your iron shots and then it can be a disaster as you try things that you normally don't. It's all part of the process, if you putt well you feel comfortable.”
Eddie Pepperell
“I played well. I surprised myself, really. I've made some changes this week with personnel so I've been working on a couple of new things and I surprised myself out there with how well I managed to trust it.
“I hit some quality tee-shots as well, that's the area I feel that I've been struggling with again a bit lately but the whole game felt good. We had a good time.
“It's always tough to go out onto the golf course and take it out there. It's been pretty nice on the range, although yesterday it was a bit of a grind, a bit of a struggle in the afternoon so I was in my room in my boxers doing some drills last night.
“It's definitely a bigger picture for me this week than tomorrow and indeed the weekend. I want to keep working on what I'm working on, go out there and try and do as best I can with it.
“This is definitely a great stepping stone moving forward and if conditions remain fairly benign in terms of the wind then there will be some low scoring out there which is good for me right now, going out and being aggressive.”
Edoardo Molinari
“It was a good day. I hit the ball really steady all day, I hit every green apart from the last one. I hit a lot of fairways, I had a lot of chances for birdie and it was a very good start.
“Last week in Oman I had a decent week, I had a bad first round and then three very good rounds. It's been the case for the last few weeks so my focus this week was to try and get a good start and that's what I had.
It was probably the only bad tee shot I hit all day at the 18th. I hit it left near the rocks and Brandon Stone found my ball. I chipped it out, my third shot was a little bit right and then I was lucky to make a chip and a four.
“It's massive any time you can start with a 66. You're right there from the beginning, not feeling like you're chasing anything. The greens are as pure as I've seen them here and there are a lot of chances.”
Four Scots are on the four-under-par 68 mark - David Drysdale, Marc Warren, Stephen Gallacher and Paul Lawrie.
par 72
65 A Rai (Eng) , E Pepperell (Eng) , G Havret (Fra) 
66 A Quiros (Spn , M Schneider (Ger) , E Molinari (Ita) , O Fisher (Eng)
67 A Otaegui (Spn) , L Gagli (Ita) , M Ilonen (Finland) , S Heisele (Ger) , T Detry (Belgium) , J White (Eng) , S Crocker (USA) 
68 P Larrazábal (Spn) , G Fernandez - Castaño (Spn) , M Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) , M Baldwin (Eng) , D Drysdale (Sco) , C Shinkwin (Eng) , M Pavon (Fra) , P Waring (Eng) , L Bjerregaard (Denmark) , J Wang (SKor) , J Smith (Eng) , P Khongwatmai (Thailand) , R Karlsson (Swe) , E Van Rooyen (SAf) , M Kinhult (Swe) , C Wood (Eng) , M Warren (Sco) , S Gallacher (Sco) , J Thomson (Eng) , J Lagergren (Swe) , C Bezuidenhout (SAf) , J Walters (SAf) , P Lawrie (Sco) , J Choi (SKor) , A Pavan (Ita)
69 S Brown (Eng) , A Sullivan (Eng) , S Fernandez (Spn) , S Sharma (India) , M Southgate (Eng) , S Gros (Fra) , H Porteous (SAf) , H Sturehed (Swe) , W Ashun (China) , R Cho (SKor) , R Evans (Eng), G Coetzee (SAf) , S Han (USA) , D Howell (Eng) , M Wallace (Eng) , M Nixon (Eng) , S Jamieson (Sco) , R Bland (Eng) 
70 J Scrivener (Australoa) , M Schwab (Austria) , O Farr (Wales) , J Dantorp (Swe) , T Jaidee (Thailand) , R Rock (Eng) , B Hebert (Fra) , F Aguilar (Chi) , G Forrest (Sco) , R Jacquelin (Fra) , C Pigem (Spn) , M Manassero (Ita) , F Zanotti (Paraguay) , J Geary (NZ) , B Dredge (Wales) , H Tanihara (Jpn) , M Kieffer (Ger) , A Björk (Swe) , J Kruyswijk (SAf) 
71 J Guerrier (Fra) , T Olesen (Denmark), N Geyger (Chile) , C Syme (Sco) , R Gouveia (Portugal) , C Ford (Eng) , N Elvira (Spn) , R Paratore (Ita) , B Stone (SAf) , C Koepka (USA) , M Foster (Eng) , N Colsaerts (Belgium) , D Horsey (Eng) , R Wattel (Fra) , C Sordet (Fra) 
72 R Sterne (SAf) , A Chesters (Eng) , R McGowan (Eng) , J Winther (Denmark), J Donaldson (Wales) , T Aiken (SAf) , B Neil (Sco) , S Maisey (Wales) , J Morrison (Eng) , D Brooks (Eng) , R Ramsay (Sco) , A Saddier (Fra) , S Lee (SKor) , S Khan (Eng) ,
73 G Bourdy (Fra) , C Hanson (Eng) , N Bertasio (Ita) , P Angles (Spn) , M Korhonen (Finland) , P Widegren (Swe) , S Hend (Australia) , S Brazel (Australia) , D Fichardt (SAf) , R Phillips (Eng) , M Siem (Ger) , A Bland (Australia) , D Im (USA) , S Chawrasia (India) , S Al Kurdi (am) (Jordan)
74 L Slattery (Eng) , T Pulkkanen (Fin) , J Suri (USA) , L Jensen (Denmark) , S Horsfield (Eng) , J Heath (Eng) , L Canter (Eng) , A Wall (Eng) , A Marjan (Morocco) , A Baig (am) (Pak) ,
75 B Evans (Eng) , T Bjørn (Den) , C Lutton (Sco) ,
76 D Clarke (NIre) , Z Lombard (SAf) , A Al Kaabi (am) (Qat) 
77 G Moynihan (Ire) 
78 A Al Shahrani (am) (Qat) 



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