Sports / Golf

The record, and the lead

By China Daily in Shanghai (China Daily) Updated: 2012-10-26 08:07

The record, and the lead

Welshman Jamie Donaldson made a dream start to the BMW Masters with a course record of 62 to take a commanding four-shot lead at the head of the 78-strong field on Thursday at the Shanghai Lake Malaren Golf Club.

Donaldson got off to a flying start with a birdie on the first hole before putting together a round that included 10 birdies and no bogeys. Rounds like that need little summing up.

"I just played great all day," said the Welshman, who came into the tournament ranked 20th in the "Race to Dubai". "I seem to have played quite well in China when I've been here. The golf course seems to suit my eye and the conditions were quite benign."

Four shots behind Donaldson at 6-under are two members of the victorious European Ryder Cup team: Francesco Molinari of Italy and Peter Hanson of Sweden.

Francesco, whose older brother Edoardo is just two shots further back on four-under, did not drop a shot and picked up six birdies thanks to his typically accurate short game.

Another man still on cloud nine after the remarkable Ryder Cup comeback is winning captain Jose Mara Olazabal of Spain. The two-time major winner rolled back the years to produce a vintage performance and card a round of 5-under 67. It is now seven years since the 46-year-old's last tournament victory, but the final day of the "Miracle in Medinah" showed the golfing world that anything is possible.

Olazabal is tied in fourth place with two Northern Irishmen: world No 1 Rory McIlroy and 2012 Trophe Hassan II winner Michael Hoey.

McIlroy can now look forward to a reunion with his former captain, as the trio on 5-under is set to tee off in the same flight on day two.

"I noticed Ollie's name on the board, which was nice to see," said 23-year-old. McIlroy. "A few weeks ago, 12 individuals came together as part of the team, and now we're back playing and trying to beat one another."

BMW brand ambassador Martin Kaymer started as he left off at the Ryder Cup three weeks ago, shooting five birdies on the front nine. Although the birdies did stop flowing in the second half of his round, the German recovered from a bogey on the penultimate hole with a sixth birdie on the 18th to end the day on 4-under.

"The conditions were really perfect. We had a bit of rain on the first four or five holes, but after that it was great," said Kaymer. "They moved a few tees forwards so that we could attack. From a playing point of view, today was relatively easy, so I would actually have expected more low scores."

On the importance of golf in China, the major winner said, "Golf is becoming more and more important in Asia. There are a lot of new tournaments and many more Chinese players coming to the fore. You can see that here at the BMW Masters. The field is excellent, the course is nice - and there are a lot of good Chinese players here."

As you would expect at a tournament boasting the strongest field in Asia this year, the top of the leaderboard is littered with big names, Major winners and Ryder Cup stars, and top-ranked Chinese player Liang Wenchong.

Among those within four shots of Hanson and Molinari in second place are Louis Oosthuizen (South Africa, -4), Justin Rose (England, -4), Paul Lawrie (Scotland, -3), Graeme McDowell (Northern Ireland, -3), Liang (-3), Lee Westwood (England, -2) and world No 3 Luke Donald (England, -2).

With this much quality on show, golf fans can look forward to another feast of shot-making on day two.

(China Daily 10/26/2012 page23)

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