Record 64 puts Watney two clear
Nick Watney tied the course record with an eight-under 64 to finish two clear after day one of the WGC-HSBC Champions.
American Nick Watney tied the course record with a virtually flawless eight-under-par 64 on Thursday and will take a two-stroke lead into Friday’s second round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai.
Watney, who won this year’s Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines in California, carded just one bogey during his trip around Sheshan International Golf Club to top the leaderboard ahead of compatriot Ryan Moore, a former US Amateur champion, Martin Kaymer, a strong Race to Dubai contender, and Irish Open champion Shane Lowry.
World number one Tiger Woods sits a further shot back alongside Volvo World Match Play Championship runner-up Anthony Kim, Chinese Taipei’s Lin Wen-tang and a resurgent Paul Casey.
With an unusually large first-day crowd watching 16-time WGC winner Woods, the spectators should have paid closer attention to WGC-CA Championship runner-up Watney as the two-time US PGA Tour winner posted seven birdies and an eagle before three-putting the ninth, his last hole, for his only blemish.
The world number 32 said: “I played very well, I got off to a nice start. The greens are so good that if you hit a putt on line, it’s definitely going to go in.
“I was putting very well and I just tried to give myself as many chances as possible and I was able to make a few.”
Kaymer, currently second in the Race to Dubai with just three events remaining, is still battling the foot injury which sidelined him for two months, but dropped just one shot during his opening six-under 66.
The German said: “I hit a lot of good shots, made the putts finally and a 66 on any course is a good result, but especially in the World Golf Championships event, it helps to start off with a good round.
“My foot is hurting a little more than last week, I am a little surprised, but the good thing is there is only three rounds to go and then I have a week off.
“My swing is still the same, it doesn’t have any effect on my swing, it’s just walking that’s the problem.”
Woods was again left frustrated by the camera-wielding crowds in China and despite also carding just one bogey in calm scoring conditions, the FedEx Cup series winner was unhappy with his own game in his first outing since last month’s Presidents Cup triumph.
The 14-time major winner said: “I got it round. It wasn’t my best ball-striking round for sure, but I made some putts which was nice and just managed the game well.
“I was a bit frustrated because I had a two-way miss going on a little bit. That’s not always a fun thing when you have a two day miss.”
Nick Dougherty seemed to rediscover the form which led to him winning June’s BMW International Open but faded down the stretch and was forced to settle for a tie for ninth at four under alongside American duo Matt Kuchar and Pat Perez and India’s Jyoti Randhawa.
ALL THE FIRST ROUND SCORES
(Gbr & Irl unless stated, par 72)
64 Nick Watney (USA)
66 Shane Lowry, Martin Kaymer (Ger), Ryan Moore (USA)
67 Tiger Woods (USA), Anthony Kim (USA), Paul Casey, Wen-Tang Lin (Tpe)
68 Pat Perez (USA), Nick Dougherty, Matt Kuchar (USA), Jyoti Randhawa (Ind)
69 Soren Kjeldsen (Den), Rodney Pampling (Aus), Jason Dufner (USA), Garth Mulroy (Rsa), Brian Gay (USA), Alvaro Quiros (Spa), Phil Mickelson (USA), Henrik Stenson (Swe)
70 Koumei Oda (Jpn), Ross Fisher, James Kingston (Rsa), Alexander Noren (Swe), Ernie Els (Rsa), Camilo Villegas (Col), Lee Westwood
71 Jerry Kelly (USA), Retief Goosen (Rsa), Oliver Wilson, Scott Strange (Aus), Stewart Cink (USA), Chapchai Nirat (Tha), Chih-bing Lam (Sin), Mark Murless (Rsa), Mark Brown (Nzl), Thongchai Jaidee (Tha)
72 Greg Chalmers (Aus), Geoff Ogilvy (Aus), Daisuke Maruyama (Jpn), Simon Dyson, Peter Hanson (Swe), Ryo Ishikawa (Jpn), Michael Jonzon (Swe), Martin Laird, Ian Poulter, Yong-eun Yang (Kor)
73 Jeev Milkha Singh (Ind), Francesco Molinari (Ita), Christian Cevaer (Fra), Rory McIlroy, Robert Allenby (Aus), Yuta Ikeda (Jpn), Wen-chong Liang (Chn), Lian-Wei Zhang (Chn), Gonzalo Fdez-Castano (Spa)
74 Rory Sabbatini (Rsa), Thomas Aiken (Rsa), Ashun Wu (Chn), Danny Lee (Nzl), Daniel Vancsik (Arg), Ricardo Gonzalez (Arg), Wei-Huang Wu (Chn), Sean O’Hair (USA), Gaganjeet Bhullar (Ind), C Muniyappa (Ind), Padraig Harrington, Richard Sterne (Rsa)
75 Anthony Kang (USA), Sergio Garcia (Spa), Shingo Katayama (Jpn)
76 Jeppe Huldahl (Den)
77 Steve Marino (USA), Peter Hedblom (Swe), Thomas Levet (Fra)
78 Jean Hugo (Rsa)
79 Nathan Green (Aus)
81 Prayad Marksaeng (Tha)
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