Thursday, October 17, 2013


Macau, October 17: Australian Scott Barr battled to a three-under-par 68 for the joint first round lead at a wind-swept Venetian Macau Open on Thursday as he renewed his love affair with the US$800,000 Asian Tour tournament.
Barr, 41, produced a measured performance at the par-71 Macau Golf and Country Club, shooting four birdies against a lone bogey to set the early pace with rookie Ben Campbell of New Zealand, who shot the tournament’s first hole-in-one, and Finland’s Kalle Samooja.
Birthday boy Ernie Els of South Africa salvaged a 71 after fighting back from being four-over-par through his opening seven holes to lie three shots behind the leaders.
Two-time champion Zhang Lian-wei rolled back the years with a 69 for a share of fourth place with Thai teenager Jazz Janewattananond and Prom Meesawat, Australian Marcus Both and Bangladeshi Siddikur, who led on four-under before bogeying his closing two holes.
Singapore-based Barr broke onto the Asian scene some 10 years ago in Macau when he lost in a play-off to Colin Montgomerie after agonisingly lipping out a birdie putt for victory on the 72nd hole.
“It’s a long time ago. I thought about it this week. I horse-shoed the last hole then and the pin was about the same spot today and I know what that does,” said Barr, whose four birdies included a birdie on the 18th hole.
“It’s history, this week is the priority. I hit the ball good enough and made some up and downs early in the round and kept it going. The ball wasn’t flying early this morning.  It was very windy, very dark and murky. I knew it was going to be tough. I have played here a lot and I get the idea of the wind and what to hit.
“It’s a long way to go. I’m not sure what the forecast is going to be but if it stays like this, I’m actually looking forward to it,” ” added Barr, who is still seeking the elusive first Asian Tour victory.
Less than 24 hours after arriving at the Venetian Macau Open, four-time Major champion Els, who turned 44 today, looked to be in trouble after playing his first seven holes in four over. However, the Big Easy, as Els is known around the world, birdied four of his last 10 holes to make his birthday cake taste sweeter.
“I have to be happy with that. It was a tough start. It’s still blowing now,:” said Els, who is seeking his 71st professional victory this week. “I started hitting some nice shots, made a little adjustment with my putter and made some three or four footers. All in all, it’s not a bad day. It’s a demanding course. When you’re off, you’re going to make big numbers.
““I always love coming here. It’s a wonderful place in the world to come play golf. I’ve seen the (Asian) Tour grow nicely and there’re so many great players now. Golf is such an exciting sport in Asia and you just want to be part of it,” added the South African, who will spend the next three weeks playing in the region.
Samooja, who has made only one cut all season which he attributed to his swing change, charged home in 30 thanks to an eagle on the second hole. The 25-year-old is hoping his new swing will hold out in the wind in Macau.
“I’m in the middle of a swing change. You will never know what happens the next day. You can have a good round and stay in the game but in the next round, it can be whatever,” he said.
Campbell aced the challenging par three 17th hole, which drops 140 feet from the tee box on the cliff to the green, with a six iron. “I was rapped about it and couldn’t take the smile off my face. I lost track what I was shooting and it was good,” said the 22-year-old.
The evergreen Zhang, who won here in 2001 and 2002, thrilled his fans with four birdies against two bogeys to trail the leaders. “The wind made it difficult. You have to control your distance and try to keep the ball on the fairway. Sometimes, the ball goes this way but after you hit the ball, it goes another way,” said Zhang, China’s pioneer in professional golf.
“I’ll try to win the tournament. But it’s only one round. I’m not too old … 48 already.”
Three players failed to complete their opening rounds and will resume on Friday morning.
Banchory's James Byrne and England's Simon Griffiths were tied for the honour of being the leading Europeans - both shooting one-under-par 70s to be joint 10th in a field of 144.
Byrne birdied the long scond, the third, the long 12th and staged a grandstand finish with an eagle 3 at the long 18th in halves of 35. He bogeyed the first, eighth, 15th and short 17th.

For more details on the Venetian Macau Open, please visit
Scores after round 1 of the Venetian Macau Open 2013 being played at the par 71, 6606 Yards Macau GCC course (a- denotes amateur):
68 - Scott BARR (AUS), Kalle SAMOOJA (FIN), Ben CAMPBELL (NZL).
70 - Sujjan SINGH (IND), HUNG Chien-yao (TPE), Jeev Milkha SINGH (IND), LU Wei-chih (TPE), Elmer SALVADOR (PHI), CHAN Yih-shin (TPE), Chawalit PLAPHOL (THA), Adam GROOM (AUS), Jay BAYRON (PHI), LU Wen-teh (TPE), James BYRNE (SCO), Simon GRIFFITHS (ENG).
71 - Ernie ELS (RSA), Ryan MCCARTHY (AUS), Sam BRAZEL (AUS), Daisuke KATAOKA (JPN), TSAI Chi-huang (TPE), Nicolas MEITINGER (GER), Rory HIE (INA), Sutijet KOORATANAPISAN (THA), LIANG Wen-chong (CHN), Antonio LASCUNA (PHI), BAEK Seuk-hyun (KOR), LEE Sung (KOR), Anthony KANG (USA), Adam BLYTH (AUS), Thammanoon SRIROJ (THA).
72 - LAM Chih Bing (SIN), Carlos PIGEM (ESP), Adilson DA SILVA (BRA), Stephen LEWTON (ENG), S.S.P CHOWRASIA (IND), CHIANG Chen-chih (TPE), Thanyakon KHRONGPHA (THA), Timothy TANG (HKG), David PALM (SWE), Arjun ATWAL (IND), Darren BECK (AUS), Kwanchai TANNIN (THA), Himmat RAI (IND), Peter GUSTAFSSON (SWE), YEH Chang-ting (TPE), Shankar DAS (IND).



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