Shenzhen - Adam Scott and Louis Oosthuizen
closed in blistering style on Thursday to snatch a one-shot advantage on
seven-under-par 65 at the top of a star-studded WGC-HSBC Champions
Australia's Scott, wielding his broomstick putter,
closed birdie, birdie, eagle, while Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open
champion, birdied two of his last three to cap a bogey-free first round
at southern China's Mission Hills.
The stunning finishes put them
one stroke ahead of four-time Major-winner Phil Mickelson, Masters
champion Bubba Watson, Shane Lowry and Peter Hanson after a low-scoring
first day with a constantly evolving lead.
Dustin Johnson and
Thailand's Prom Meesawat were two shots off the lead, while Luke Donald
and defending champion Martin Kaymer were in a group three back in the
$7 million event at the sprawling resort's par-72 Olazabal Course.
Cup hero Ian Poulter was four off the pace with 69 and Lee Westwood
finished strongly to score 70, level with British Open champion Ernie
Scott, who can still add lustre to a season which will be
remembered for his collapse at the British Open, provided the day's
highlight over his last three holes, capped by his eagle putt from 10
feet on the par-five ninth.
"I had a good start and a fast finish so it was a solid day that all of a sudden turned into a really good day," Scott said.
"But I hit a lot of good shots, and they ended up finishing close on the last couple of holes and I took advantage of that."
who was tied sixth at last week's BMW Masters, behind Hanson, said he
hadn't realised how many birdies were available until red numbers
started flooding the scoreboard. He birdied all five of the par-fives.
don't think I saw a really low number out there but once you look at
the leaderboard and see the guys are firing it up, all of a sudden you
started seeing birdies," said the South African.
mirrored Scott by picking up two shots on his last hole, the par-five
ninth, in one of 12 eagles on the day to gain a temporary lead.
"It was a great way to finish with an eagle. I was hoping just to make birdie on the last hole," Mickelson said.
American, relaxed and chatty on a bright, fresh morning, began on the
par-four 10th with a 25-foot uphill putt for birdie and then escaped
from a bunker to go two under through his first two holes.
spectacular par-five 15th, Mickelson fired over the lake into another
bunker -- but flopped out to within six feet to reach three under par
and share the early lead.
He also birdied the par-five third, but
his round was transformed by his last hole, the par-five ninth, when he
was on the green with two sweeps of his three-wood and holed out from 15
feet for an eagle.
"I think the reason I was so calm today was I
drove the ball extremely well and hit (nearly) every fairway. I missed
one fairway by two yards, the par-five three, and I still made birdie,"
Leading first-round scores at the $7
million WGC-HSBC Champions on the Olazabal Course (par-72) at Mission
Hills in southern China on Thursday:
65 - Louis Oosthuizen (RSA), Adam Scott (AUS)
66 - Phil Mickelson (USA), Bubba Watson (USA), Peter Hanson (SWE), Shane Lowry (IRL)
67 - Dustin Johnson (USA), Prom Meesawat (THA)
- Jang Ik-Jae (KOR), Luke Donald (ENG), Scott Piercy (USA), Wu Ashun
(CHN), Thomas Aiken (RSA), Martin Kaymer (GER), Jason Dufner (USA)
69 - Ian Poulter (ENG), Paul Lawrie (SCO), Bill Haas (USA)
- Garth Mulroy (RSA), Lee Westwood (ENG), Ernie Els (RSA), Thongchai
Jaidee (THA), Yuta Ikeda (JPN), Carl Pettersson (SWE), Scott Hend (AUS)
- Greg Chalmers (AUS), Jamie Donaldson (WAL), Thorbjorn Olesen (DEN),
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (ESP), Marcel Siem (GER), Julien Quesne (FRA),
Graeme McDowell (NIR), Keegan Bradley (USA)
72 - Jeev Milkha Singh (IND), Liang Wenchong (CHN), Justin Rose (ENG), Brandt Snedeker (USA)
73 - Nicolas Colsaerts (BEL), Gaganjeet Bhullar (IND)