Australian Peter O’Malley said he played a near-perfect round after shooting a five-under 67 to take the lead after day one of the BMW Asian Open yesterday, with Sweden’s Henrik Stenson leading a big chasing pack.
O’Malley, who has not won on the European Tour for seven years and missed the cut in Beijing last week, returned to form in spectacular fashion thanks to a birdie-birdie start.
“I played really well... I can’t really fault anything today,” said the 42-year-old after his round of 67.
World No 13 Stenson, the highest ranked played in the $2.3-million (Dh8.39m) event, was in a group of four players a shot further back, alongside India’s Jeev Milkha Singh, England’s Oliver Wilson and Finland’s Mikko Ilonen.
One of the star attractions in Shanghai this week is Australian former world No1 Greg Norman, who rarely plays on the professional tour now.
The so-called Great White Shark scored a one-under 71. However, bogeys on the 15th and 16th holes, as well as a host of missed birdie putts, left the two-time British Open frustrated.
“I thought it should have been better. I played well except for a couple of holes. Outside of that I concentrated well and putted well and didn’t make anything,” said the 53-year-old.
Big-hitting and occasionally combustible Australian Scott Hend was in outright sixth place at three under, following a 69.
Defending champion Raphael Jacquelin of France had an even more frustrating day, shooting a 73.
Among the other big names, two-time US Open winner Retief Goosen and Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez fired even-par 72s.
Singh, who finished equal 25th at the Masters two weeks ago for his best finish at a major, was the best of the Asian contingent. (AFP)