Coetzee claims first round lead

European Tour

George Coetzee leads the Qatar Masters by one stroke from Steve Webster, who carded an albatross on his first hole during Wednesday’s first round.

Coetzee carded an eight-under-par 64, but the highlight of the round undoubtedly took place on the par five tenth at Doha Golf Club, when Webster holed his second shot from 254-yards.

His albatross was the second of his career and the second on the European Tour this year, after Dutchman Joost Luiten made an albatross during the Volvo Golf Champions in Durban, also on the 10th hole during his second round.

Webster finished with a 65 and is in a tie for second place on seven-under alongside Coetzee’s South African compatriot Dawie van der Walt.

“It was 254 yards to the pin, slightly into the wind off the left,” Webster noted after the round.

“It was a five wood and I hit a great shot, obviously straight at it.

“Because I carry a big crowd following me, there were about two people behind the green and one of them started jumping up and pointing down and I didn’t know if it had gone over the back into the rocks or in! I got up there and he started clapping and it was a dream start.”

“I have never been three under through one before and you wonder is this my day or have I had all my luck on the first hole, but I played great after that.

“I was really consistent, gave myself a lot of chances and made a few putts and was probably a little disappointed with seven under to be honest. I probably should have finished nine or 10 under but it’s a good start.”

Coetzee is still looking for his first victory on the European Tour, but has three runner-up finishes to his name.

“I was quite lucky to get away with the shots I hit today, but another good putting display to put a nice number in,” the 27-year-old said after his round.

“I think I had 21 putts with a three putt, so that goes to show, I can hit the ball a little bit better.

“I’m busy working on stuff on my swing, so it’s nice to shoot good numbers when you’re busy working on stuff. But I can’t wait for it to click because I might be unstoppable.”

In a tie for fourth place after rounds of66 are rookie Nacho Elvira, Spain’s Rafa Cabrera-Bello, France’s Francois Calmels and English contender Ross Fisher.

After missing the cut in Abu Dhabi last week, Europe’s top player Henrik Stenson returned to form to card a 68.

Three major winners, Jon Daly, Paul Lawrie and Ernie Els closed out the top 10 when they carded five-under-par 67s on Wednesday.

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