Thursday, November 05, 2009

Watney bogeys last but equals record with a 64

Chinese crowd upset Tiger with their

mobile-phone, picture-taking antics

Tiger Woods has complained - if not to the organisers, certainly to the media - about the conduct of some spectators following him on the course for the first round the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai.
World-class golf is still a new concept to many Chinese and on-course etiquette has yet to be fully embraced.
Signboards were displayed around the Sheshan International Golf Course reminding fans not to use mobile phones or take pictures, but many ignored these in their quest to get a snap of the world's No 1 golfer.
"There was certainly a lot of people out there. There was a lot of people moving and things," said Woods, who had at least 1,000 people following him as he fired a five-under-par 67 to be three shots off the first round lead.
"We had to stay pretty focused. The marshals did a good job helping us out and giving us an opportunity to play."
The cameras started clicking at his first hole and Woods said it put him off his swing.
"One guy in the grandstand basically did almost a photo sequence of my swing. I flinched on it and I hit it straight to the right," he said, adding that the fans' conduct didn't get better for some time.
"Not for the first six or seven holes, no. But after that, yeah."
American Nick Watney upstaged the stars with a course-record equalling eight-under-par 64.
Watney, a two-time winner on the US PGA Tour, was in superb form at Sheshan International Golf Club where he reeled in one eagle and seven birdies but a late bogey on his last hole spoilt his card.
German’s Martin Kaymer, back recently from injury, Irishman Shane Lowry and American Ryan Moore shot 66s to lie two back in the star-studded US$7 million tournament, which is Asia’s first ever WGC event.
Woods carded a 67 for a share of fifth place with amongst others, Chinese Taipei’s Lin Wen-tang who ended the day as Asia ’s top finisher. India ’s Jyoti Randhawa was a further shot back with a 68 to ensure a strong Asian Tour presence on the leaderboard.
Coming off his best season where he finished 12th on the FedEx Cup rankings, the 28-year-old Watney was delighted with his round which included four straight birdies after the turn. He also holed a 30-foot putt for eagle on the 14th hole after the starting the day from the 10th tee.
“That's why I came, to try to win the event. I'm playing well. I did some good work with Butch (Harmon) when I was home on both ball striking and putting, and today I was in good form. So hopefully it will continue,” said Watney, who won the Buick Invitational and finished second in the WGC-CA Championship earlier this year.
“The greens are so good that if you hit a putt on line, it's definitely going to go in. So I was putting very well, just tried to give myself as many chances as possible, and I was able to make a few.”
He knows it is too early to be worried about Woods, whose record in WGC events is impeccable with 16 wins from 30 tournaments over the past decade. “If it was Saturday night, I don't know how well I'd be sleeping. But just for Friday, I'm in a great position, but at the same time, there's a really long way to go. It's always good to beat Tiger, and hopefully I can keep a little cushion between us,” said Watney.
Woods, chasing a first HSBC title after finishing second in 2005 and 2006, put himself in prime spot to launch another title charge for a seventh win of the year with six birdies against a bogey.
“Well, I got it around today. It wasn't my best ball striking round for sure but I made some putts which was nice, and just managed my game well,” said the 14-time Major champion.
“I was a bit frustrated today because I kind of had a two-way miss going today a little bit. That's not always a fun thing when you have a two-way miss (hitting the ball left or right of the target).”
Lin, who finished second on the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit last season, enjoyed a sizzling back nine with six birdies against two bogeys adding to two earlier birdies on the outward nine. He was thrilled to tie Woods after day one.
Playing his third WGC event this season, the man from Taipei said he was relaxed this week being in the company of the world’s leading players.
“I had a very good score today. In this tournament, there are so many superstars and I told my caddie, we are the local guys but let’s enjoy the tournament. I hit it good and putted well, took only 25 putts.
“On the front nine, I tried to keep it steady, but on the back nine, I just became alive. On the 12th hole, I nearly made a hole in one (with a hybrid) and the round improved from there,” said Lin.
Randhawa, Asia ’s number one in 2002, was also pleased with his start after enduring a difficult past few months with poor form. “I got my swing back into the groove after a long time and it felt good. I putted well, just coming in I wished I made a few more putts as the greens were fast and true but it’s the best that I’ve hit it in the past two or three months. I’m really happy,” said Randhawa.
Entering the week in 115th place on the European Tour, Randhawa knows that his card will be locked up after this week’s event which has no halfway cut. “It was at the back of my mind and not being able to swing the way I wanted to plays on your mind. Right now, I’m really comfortable and I’ve got my card for next year. I’ll try to freewheel it this week and hope it works. I’m feeling good,” he said.
Thai star Thongchai Jaidee, who played with Woods, shot a 71 for a share of 28th position which was matched by compatriot Chapchai Nirat and Singapore ’s Lam Chih Bing.
Title holder Sergio Garcia of Spain struggled to a 75 while world number two Phil Mickelson, winner here in 2007, shot a 69.
Par 72
64 Nick Watney (USA)
66 Shane Lowry, Martin Kaymer (Ger), Ryan Moore (USA)
67 Tiger Woods (USA), Anthony Kim (USA), Paul Casey, Wen-Tang Lin (Tpe)
68 Pat Perez (USA), Nick Dougherty, Matt Kuchar (USA), Jyoti Randhawa (Ind)
69 Soren Kjeldsen (Den), Rodney Pampling (Aus), Jason Dufner (USA), Garth Mulroy (Rsa), Brian Gay (USA), Alvaro Quiros (Spa), Phil Mickelson (USA), Henrik Stenson (Swe)
70 Koumei Oda (Jpn), Ross Fisher, James Kingston (Rsa), Alexander Noren (Swe), Ernie Els (Rsa), Camilo Villegas (Col), Lee Westwood
71 Jerry Kelly (USA), Retief Goosen (Rsa), Oliver Wilson, Scott Strange (Aus), Stewart Cink (USA), Chapchai Nirat (Tha), Chih-bing Lam (Sin), Mark Murless (Rsa), Mark Brown (Nzl), Thongchai Jaidee (Tha)
72 Greg Chalmers (Aus), Geoff Ogilvy (Aus), Daisuke Maruyama (Jpn), Simon Dyson, Peter Hanson (Swe), Ryo Ishikawa (Jpn), Michael Jonzon (Swe), Martin Laird, Ian Poulter, Yong-eun Yang (Kor)
73 Jeev Milkha Singh (Ind), Francesco Molinari (Ita), Christian Cevaer (Fra), Rory McIlroy, Robert Allenby (Aus), Yuta Ikeda (Jpn), Wen-chong Liang (Chn), Lian-Wei Zhang (Chn), Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Spa)
74 Rory Sabbatini (Rsa), Thomas Aiken (Rsa), Ashun Wu (Chn), Danny Lee (Nzl), Daniel Vancsik (Arg), Ricardo Gonzalez (Arg), Wei-Huang Wu (Chn), Sean O'Hair (USA), Gaganjeet Bhullar (Ind), C Muniyappa (Ind), Padraig Harrington, Richard Sterne (Rsa)
75 Anthony Kang (USA), Sergio Garcia (Spa), Shingo Katayama (Jpn)
76 Jeppe Huldahl (Den)
77 Steve Marino (USA), Peter Hedblom (Swe), Thomas Levet (Fra)
78 Jean Hugo (Rsa)
79 Nathan Green (Aus)
81 Prayad Marksaeng (Tha)



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