Thursday, December 15, 2011


Lee Westwood shot a magnificent 12 under par 60 - the best round of his career - to establish a five shot lead on the opening day of the Thailand Golf Championship today.
The Englishman carded 10 birdies and an eagle at the Amata Spring Country Club with American John Daly his closest challenger after a 65.
Frenchman Gregory Bourdy and home hope Thaworn Wiratchant were joint third, eight shots behind Westwood.
The world number three set the tone for his round with a blistering start, birdies at one, three, four and five sandwiching an eagle at the par five second.
Westwood picked up another shot at the seventh to reach the turn in 29 and a further five birdies coming home maintained his momentum.
Despite his brilliance, Westwood could not hide his disappointment at not dipping below 60 - a fabled mark for any golfer.
He said: “I just wanted to get off to a quick start and I did that. I made a dream start and you start thinking about 59, I guess.
“I came close but not close enough. I messed it up with a few pars!
“I missed on 11 from about ten feet, left it short, and at 14 I left it short in the middle but you can’t shoot 60 without making a few 15 to 20 footers and I did that today so no complaints.
“I guess 59 is one of those numbers where if it is meant to be it is meant to be.”
Westwood’s round was even more remarkable given the tricky wind in Chonburi.
“It’s not really a 60 course,” he added. “It was a bit breezy out there.
“(Caddie) Billy (Foster) said he thought he had seen the best round of golf ever when I shot 62 at the Nedbank a few weeks ago but he said that was better today, so I am making progress!
“I have shot a few 61s and 62s but never a 60 so I will have to refocus tomorrow morning and start all over again.”
Daly too can be pleased with his efforts today. The 45 year old birdied the first and the ninth in a steady opening but then blitzed the back nine, with three more birdies and an eagle on the 11th.
Masters Tournament champion Charl Schwartzel led a group of players on three under which included Yorkshireman Simon Dyson while Open Championship champion Darren Clarke carded a one under 71.
Ayrshire rookie pro Michael Stewart, pictured right, struggled round in seven-over-par 79 - one than a stroke a hole more than Lee Westwood - to be T123 in a field of 130. It can be tough going setting out on the road as a pro after a stellar career as an amateur.
One of GB and I's Walker Cup heroes in September, Stewart opened brightly enough with a birdie 3 at the first, but that was as good as it got. He bogeyed the short fifth on his way to the turn in one-over 37, which wasn't bad going.
Then it all started to go round for the scot with a double bogey 6 at the 10th, then a bogey at the 14th, followed by a triple bogey 7 at the 16th, all adding up to a six-over-par inward half of 42.
GOLF.COM reports: Sergio Garcia was on a roll in October, winning twice on the European Tour following a self-imposed hiatus from the game last year. But it seems his fiery temper got the best of him in Thailand after a poor tee shot on a par 3.
The Ryder Cup star chucked his 4-iron into the water in fury after a poor connection at a par-3 during a nightmare opening round in Chonburi, Sky Sports reported.
Garcia's day failed to improve as he finished with a 4-over 76 to end tied for 99th in the 130-strong field.

Par 72
60 Lee Westwood (England).
65 John Daly (United States)
68 Gregory Bourdy (France), Thaworn Wiratchant (Thailand).
Selected scores:
69 Charl Schwartzel (S Africa), Simon Dyson (England), Chris Rodgers (England), Jbe Kruger (S Africa), Michael Thompson (United States)
71 Darren Clarke (N Ireland), Ross Bain (Scotland) (T27)
73 Oliver Fisher (England) (T58)
76 Simon Yates (Scotland), Sergio Garcia (Spain) (T99)
77 Simon Griffiths (England) (T110).
79 Michael Stewart (Scotland) (T123)
80 John Parry (England) (T126)
Field of 130 players





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