Thursday, October 18, 2018

Ashley Chesters finished his opening round with a flourish to open up a one-stroke lead on the weather-disrupted opening day of the Andalucía Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation.

The 28 year old Englishman fired back-to-back birdies at the 17th and 18th holes to record a five under par round of 66 and claim the clubhouse lead on a day when over four hours were lost because of bad weather.

Stormy conditions caused problems throughout the day on Thursday, with all tee times pushed back by two hours before play had even started as inclement weather and lightning hit Real Club Valderrama in the morning.

Grégory Bourdy of France, who needs a strong finish this week to jump up the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex from his current position of 179th, is Chesters' nearest challenger on four under par after he took advantage of all three par-fives on his way to a bogey-free round of 67.

Defending champion and tournament host Sergio Garcia is once shot further back on three under par alongside Australian Jason Scrivener and fellow Spaniards Alvaro Quiros and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño who are amongst 60 players who will return to complete round one when play resumes at 9 am on Friday.
South African Darren Fichardt, Shane Lowry of Ireland and Scot Richie Ramsay are amongst a group of nine players currently in a tie for seventh place on two under par.
Player quotes
Ashley Chesters: “It’s a shame I can’t keep going, because the last few holes were the best I played all day. Considering all the delays and everything I’m very happy with five under, and it was nice to finish like that.
“This is not a long-hitters course and I’m not one of those, so it does suit my game because you just put it into position off the tee and the greens are tight – the greens are great as well.
“The forecast for the rest of the week is not very good either so I thought - I’ll just make as many birdies as I can and get in.”
Grégory Bourdy: “It was a funny day, a very long day, but I really played very solid all day long. It was hard to restart on 14, but after a great par on 14 I had a solid finish.
“I can be only happy with minus four on this course. Actually, my putter was on fire, and it’s easier when you putt great to make no bogeys.
“It was a great day and I’ll try to keep going like this. I knew that my game was in place for the last few months, though I didn’t score, but I kept quite calm and stayed confident and I’m starting well this week, so I’ll try to keep enjoying the week.”
Sergio García: “It was a long day, but it was a good day. We played hard, it’s a tough course no matter the conditions and I was pleased to be able to finish three under. Every time you shoot under par on this golf course is always a great thing, so I’m happy about that.
“I didn’t feel as smooth when I came back from the break. I managed to hit a great shot on six and then a couple of loose shots. I made a great up and down on seven – that was huge – and hit a great putt on nine – I thought I’d made it.
“Every time we play in Spain the support we get is amazing and this week is no different, so I’m always thankful for that. To be here in my favourite golf course where I am a member since last year is great fun.”



Scots' scores
69 (T7) Richie Ramsay
72 (T58) David Drysdale
73 (T85) Connor Syme, Bradley Neil.
79 (T122) Duncan Stewart




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