Hong Kong - An
unfamiliar trio upstaged Ryder Cup stars and the Masters champion in
the first round of the Hong Kong Open on Thursday as blustery conditions
took their toll on the big names.
England's Aaron Rai, Japan's Yusaku Miyazato and Jason Scrivener of
Australia managed to remain on course, all carding 65 to end top of the
widely-spread leaderboard at the par-70 Fanling.
Cold and breezy conditions in the morning took their toll on the
early groups, claiming their biggest scalp in Masters champion Patrick
Reed, who shot four bogeys and a double bogey to card a disappointing
Sergio Garcia, who became the top points scorer in Ryder Cup history earlier this year, was also affected by the elements.
"It was a frustrating day, mainly because I thought I played well ... Nothing seemed to be going the right way."
Fleetwood, his Ryder Cup team-mate, and who was bracketed in the same
group, concurred: "The last few (holes) the wind dropped and we had some
chances ... But I didn't play great."
Fleetwood, the world No 9, shot three birdies and two bogeys to end the day on 69, while Garcia ended on par.
At the top of the leaderboard Rai, 23, playing his third season on
the European Tour, held steady on the challenging course to shoot three
birdies as well as an eagle on the 13th.
Miyazato, ranked 136 in the world, bounced back from a bogey at the
9th hole, while Scrivener shot three birdies in a row to share the top
Crowd favourite Andrew "Beef" Johnston, playing for the first time at Fanling, shot three birdies and two bogeys to card 69.
Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez, who shares a record four wins at the
historic course, also struggled, carding 72, including two bogeys and a
His compatriot, big-hitter Alvaro Quiros, reined in his game for
Fanling's short fairways and tight greens, shooting an eagle and a
birdie in the first three holes, and carding 68.
Arjun Atwal, returning to competitive golf following a two-month
absence due to a back injury, battled alongside Reed to card a strong
The Indian, whose last win on the European Tour was in 2008, shot
four birdies, said he was happy, if surprised, "to see my name on the
Leading scores after the first round of the Hong Kong Open at Fanling on Thursday (par 70):
65 - Aaron Rai (ENG), Jason Scrivener (AUS), Yusaku Miyazato (JPN)
66 - Micah Lauren Shin (USA), Jack Singh Brar (ENG), Arjun Atwal (IND)
67 - Thomas Aiken (RSA), Danthai Boonma (THA)
68 - Berry Henson (USA), Hyowon Park (KOR), Haydn Porteous (RSA), Terry Pilkadaris (AUS), Thongchai Jaidee (THA), Scott Hend (AUS), Khalin Joshi (IND), Jeunghun Wang (KOR), Ashley Chesters (ENG), Liu Yanwei (CHI), David Drysdale (SCO), Sam Brazel (AUS), Nicolas Colsaerts (BEL), Alvaro Quiros (ESP)