Thursday, November 22, 2018

England's Aaron Rai shares opening-day lead, David Drysdale top

Scot with 68 for top-10 placing at Hong Kong Open
Hong Kong, November 22: India’s Arjun Atwal stayed one shot back of first-round leaders Yusaku Miyazato of Japan, Australia’s Jason Scrivener and England’s Aaron Rai after he signed for an opening four-under-par 66 at the Hong Kong Open on Thursday.
Atwal took the clubhouse lead in the morning but was dislodged from the top of the leaderboard when the trio made their moves at the Hong Kong Golf Club under more favourable weather conditions in the afternoon.
Based in Florida in the United States, the 45-year-old Atwal  flew into Hong Kong ready to put up a performance befitting of his reputation as one of Asia’s golf legends.
Atwal, who is no stranger to success having won the Asian Tour Order of Merit in 2003 and enjoying multiple victories across Asia, Europe and the United States, returned with a flawless card that was highlighted by four birdies on holes one, three, four and 17.
Australia’s Sam Brazel, who won the Hong Kong Open in 2016, was also in the mix after carding a 68 where the only blemish on his card came at the par-three eight where he suffered a bogey-four.
Brazel is bunched in tied-ninth place that also includes Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee, India’s Khalin Joshi and compatriot Scott Hend, who also won the event in 2014.
Major winner Patrick Reed of the United States meanwhile had a round to forget after opening his campaign with a disappointing 75 while Spain’s Sergio Garcia signed for a 70 to stay five shots back of the leaders.
of 24 putts.

SCOTS' SCORES
68 David Drysdale (T9)

70 Grant Forrest (T41)
71 Liam Johnston, David Law, Robert MacIntyre (T53)
72 Simon Yates (T72)
Players’ Quotes
Arjun Atwal (India) First round 66 (-4)
It was unexpected, but I'll take it.  It was really tough out there today.  Especially early in the morning, it was really cold and windy.  Felt like it was coming from all over. I'm really happy with the score. I have no thoughts now because I haven't really played much the last two months.  The last time I played I pulled out of a tournament in Japan.
  I'm just going to take each day as it comes and try my best.  I’m trying to get rid of my jetlag.  I've been getting up at like 3 am every day.  I'm just going to go home and rest and come out tomorrow and try again. I love Hong Kong as a city.  I've been lucky enough to win here at Clearwater Bay, but it's definitely one of my favourite cities, as well, and then the vibe that you get in this tournament, you know, just when you step on the golf course is awesome, for me, anyway.  I love it.
Aaron Rai (Eng) First round 65 (-5)
It was a good round.  I think we were lucky with the weather today.  When we got here this morning, it was kind of blowy, so the guys this morning had it harder than we did, but nonetheless it's a tough course.  I think any anything under par was a good score and I was very pleased with a 65 to start off. My short game was pretty good. 
Missed a few greens early on and got up and down each time, which I think was important.  And also, putted very well, good pace control.  Made a few putts, as well, which is nice. Whether it's windy or not, you've got to play well around here and put it in the right spots.  It's a fantastic course.  Hopefully the conditions will be kind to us but we'll see. 
Yusaku Miyazato (Japan) First round 65 (-5)
My putting was really good today and my iron play was excellent as well. I’m very happy to end my round with a birdie. It was getting dark already and I just had to rely on my gut feeling especially with my second shot. I hit it good and managed to get a birdie there.
Sam Brazel (Australia) First round 68 (-2)
It was great.  Obviously nice to be in the red after day one, especially in those tough conditions early.  The wind was quite up.  Yeah, quite blustery.  Yeah, tough out there this morning.  The wind was all moving around and quite gusty, as well.  So you had to be quite careful where you wanted to leave the ball on those greens because they are quite slippery, as well.  Quite gusty and just had to kind of be a little patient out there. I love playing here in Hong Kong.  I love the course.  It suits me nicely and obviously a lot of great memories.  I just have to go out there and try and enjoy it like I did a couple years ago and see what happens. 
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