Golf | Van Rooyen 1 back as Green leads Czech Master

Cape Town – Gavin Green picked up where he left off 12
months ago with an opening 64 to take the first round lead at the D+D
Real Czech Masters

Accoridng to the European Tour’s website, the Malaysian made his debut at Albatross Golf
Resort last season and was one of four players to match the course
record with an opening 64 before he went on to post the lowest 36 hole
total in tournament history.

eight under par effort handed him the solo lead after 18 holes this
time around, as he led the way from England’s Lee Slattery and South
African Erik van Rooyen.

Dane Joachim B Hansen, Finn Kim Koivu,
Chile’s Hugo Leon, Italian Edoardo Molinari, Norwegian Kristoffer Reitan
and England’s Callum Shinkwin were at six under.

Green went on to
finish third last term but should he win this week, he would become the
first Malaysian to lift a European Tour trophy.

The 25-year-old
has had four weeks off since the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish
Open and is feeling refreshed as he attempts to make history in Prague.

been enjoying myself at home the last few weeks, eating a lot, sleeping
a lot and driving my car – just being a regular person as opposed to
practising all the time,” said Green, who has three top tens in his last
five European Tour appearances.

“I didn’t practice for two weeks so a
complete shut down, just enjoying life.

“I don’t know what it is
about this place. I think the course suits me well and it helps if you
hit it a little longer and a little higher. It helps to be able to stop
the ball on the greens. If you get a good drive away you just have a
wedge in your hand and you can take advantage of that.

“It was
obviously a really good opening round, I just kept everything in play
and hit a lot of shots close to the pins so I didn’t have a hard putt. I
gave myself a lot of looks at birdies and thankfully it turned out

Green birdied the first and made a hat-trick of gains from
the third before an approach to eight feet on the eighth helped him turn
in 31.

A two putt birdie on the par five 10th then triggered
another run of three in a row as he holed a 20 footer on the next and
took advantage of the par five 12th to hit the front on his own.

A bogey on the next dropped him back into a share but a closing gain saw him lead the way.

a birdie-bogey start, Slattery picked up shots on the sixth and ninth
to turn in 34 but really came to life on the back nine.

An 18
footer on the 11th was followed by a monster for eagle on the 12th, and
further gains on the 15th and 18th ensured a third consecutive opening
round of 65 or lower.

Van Rooyen had set the morning target with a bogey free round.

made birdies on the tenth, 15th, 18th and first and spun an approach to
tap-in range on the second to get in the mix. An approach to five feet
at the sixth gave him in a share and he birdied the par five ninth from
similar range to hit the front on his own.

Koivu and Molinari were
both bogey free in their rounds of 66, while Hansen and Reitan both
made a single bogey to go with seven gains.

Shinkwin also dropped
one shot after setting the early pace with five birdies in six holes
from 12th, and Leon had an eagle at the tenth to go with five birdies
and a bogey.

Former champion Thomas Pieters, Bernd Wiesberger –
currently second on the Race to Dubai rankings –
Darren Fichardt, Liam Johnston, Robert Karlsson and Jason Scrivener were
at five under, a shot clear of a group including defending champion
Andrea Pavan.

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