Watson recovers after slow start

Bubba Watson produced a strong finish to his opening round at the Shenzhen International to stay in touch with the leaders.

Watson, whose Masters defence last week was undone by a poor performance on the Augusta greens, again struggled with his putter in China on Thursday.

His two-under-par 70 featured seven makeable but missed birdie chances, though he was able to rally on the back nine, making three gains in a row from the fifth to stay within four of the lead.

“It was a slow start, getting used to the greens,” Watson admitted. “The speed of them coming from the Masters to here was a little different.

“I three-putted one hole and some of my chips didn’t turn out the way I wanted them to. It’s not really about confidence; it’s just about feeling the greens out.

“It’s just one of those things I’ve got used to; it’s not bad, just different to what I’m used to. The whole golf course sets up good for me. I hit my driver quite nicely off the tee and hopefully tomorrow I can make a few putts.”