Tuesday 16 January 2018

Maybin feels new caddie can help him to first title

Bernie McGuire in Singapore

Gareth Maybin reckons new caddie Darren Reynolds can help him land his maiden Tour victory, having made big strides since teaming up with Paul McGinley's former bag man a month ago.

The Ballyclare player continued his fine form by recording seven birdies in a six-under-par first-round 65 at the Barclays Singapore Open, which left him trailing just two strokes behind clubhouse leaders Chris Wood and Kim Bi-o.

A downpour caused a four-hour delay yesterday and when bad light halted play near 7.0, just 96 of the 204 contestants had completed their round.

Maybin, playing the easier Tanjong course, headed the strong Irish contingent. Darren Clarke recorded just 28 putts in a five-under par 66.

Graeme McDowell was also at five-under after just eight holes. His Race to Dubai rival Martin Kaymer was at two-under par after six.

Peter Lawrie was on the ninth fairway at four-under; Padraig Harrington had earlier signed for a two-under par 69, which included a sixth-hole eagle when he hit a six-iron to two feet.

However, the triple Major winner also had a 12th-hole double-bogey when he drove out of bounds.

Maybin teamed up with Reynolds at last month's Portugal Masters and although he missed the cut there, he bounced back to finish 19th at the Castellon Masters. A week later, he went into the final round of the Andalucian Masters tied for the lead with McDowell before carding a 76 to McDowell's 74.

It was Maybin's third second-place finish -- his second this season -- since joining the Tour full-time last season.

And with Reynolds' assistance, it would seem Maybin could soon become the latest Ulsterman to capture a Race to Dubai event.

"You have to make your score on the shorter Tanjong course and I've managed to do that before we head to the tougher Serapong course," said Maybin. "Darren's been a big plus. He's extremely experienced and while I have had a couple of other good caddies, I feel as though I gel a little better with Darren.

"Darren's just making a huge difference to my game. Having him on the bag freshens things up. I've landed a good one. It's also given me a big lift in trying to knock over a first win. It would be so good if I could do that before the season is out."

Twinge

Harrington suffered yet another twinge in his neck, but declared that he'd shaken off the concern, despite battling with his swing.

"I hurt my neck in the gym on Monday and I've been struggling with my co-ordination, so I've had trouble out there," he said. "But I seem to have shaken it off now and it's just that my timing is a bit out. I hit a few loose shots."

Harrington indicated that will defend his Johor Open title now that it is included in the 2011 Race to Dubai schedule. He ended a two-year drought when capturing the Asian Tour event last month.

But the event will now be co-sanctioned with the European Tour and take place from November 17-20 and a week after the Singapore Open. The Tour is expected to release the full 2011 schedule shortly, with the March 17-20 Sicilian Open to be the first in Europe proper.

Shane Lowry was up at 5.0 in the morning catching the end of Manchester United's 0-0 draw against Manchester City before making his way to the course to tee up first in the event at 7.30.

He had only played a few holes when heavy rain flooded the course, eventually finishing at 4.0 with a two-over-par 73 on the Serapong course. "It's been a really long day. I really played well, but I hit three poor tee shots that cost me," he said. "I just didn't hole a putt."

Gary Murphy -- who admitted this was his "last chance saloon" in a bid to hold on to his card -- dropped six shots in a four-hole stretch from his second en route to an eight-over par 79.

The Singapore Open,

Live, Sky Sports 3, 6.0am

Irish Independent

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