Scott & Oosthuizen out in front
A birdie-birdie-eagle finish helped Adam Scott to join Louis Oosthuizen at the top of the HSBC Champions leaderboard.
A birdie-birdie-eagle finish from Adam Scott helped the Australian to join Louis Oosthuizen at the top of the WGC-HSBC Champions first-round leaderboard.
South African Oosthuizen made seven birdies as he carded a flawless seven-under-par 65 to grab the clubhouse lead at Mission Hills in Shenzhen, China.
“I 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,” the 30-year-old former Open champion told europeantour.com.
“I played well – I made five birdies on the par fives, and that got the round going, and then I made two more birdies. I hit a few bad iron shots, but made good up-and-downs for pars and just glad to have a bogey-free round, I’m always happy with that.
“There are three rounds left and a lot of golf to be played. The main key is to try to put myself in a spot to win it on Sunday.
“If I can keep doing what I’m doing on the par fives and hitting fairways, you’ve got a good chance.”
The 32-year-old Scott, who started on the back nine, came charging up the leaderboard late in the day with an eagle at the par-5 ninth hole the story of his round. He also added six birdies with one bogey at the 17th.
“It was a solid day that all of a sudden turned into a really good day,” he said.
“I hit a lot of good shots, and they ended up finishing close on the last couple holes and I took advantage of that.
“With five par fives, it sets up well for my game, and the plan is to just take advantage of the fives and hopefully hang in there with the leaders all week.”
The duo have a slender one-shot lead over two-time champion Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, BMW Masters champion Peter Hanson and Portugal Masters winner Shane Lowry.
Irishman Lowry was on course to take the lead as he found himself at eight-under after 16 holes, but he blew it at the final two holes.
He dropped a shot at the 17th after missing the green while he was forced to settle for another bogey at the final hole after driving into sand.
Swede Hansen, who has a chance of overtaking Rory McIlroy on the European Tour money list following the world number one’s decision to skip the event, knows he needs to keep his head after his success at the BMW Masters last week.
“It was a good celebration on Sunday night and I took it easy on Monday,” Hanson said.
“You know you are playing well, but you have to stay fresh and it’s all about keeping your head in the right mindset and keep playing aggressive.”
Dustin Johnson and Prom Meesawat five-under back while Luke Donald, Jason Dufner and are a further shot behind.
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