Sport Golf

Sunday 19 November 2017

Paul Dunne chasing down Bubba Watson - but first round in China could have been so much better

Ireland's Paul Dunne
Ireland's Paul Dunne

Greystones man Paul Dunne carded a solid first-round 70 to leave himself four shots off leader Bubba Watson in the Shenzhen International.

Dunne, who was denied a first Tour win when he was defeated in a play-off by Edoardo Molinari in the Trophee Hassan II last weekend, continued his fine form and it could have been so much better only for a triple bogey seven on the par-four fifth.

Dunne recovered well with birdies at seven, nine, 10, 13 and 15 in an otherwise flawless round to card -2 and a share of 18th place.

Watson topped the leaderboard after an opening round curtailed first by the threat of lightning before darkness saw play suspended for the day.

Two-time Masters winner Watson, making his fourth appearance at the tournament, recovered from an early bogey to post a six-under 66 - his lowest round of the year to date.

That gave the American a one-shot lead over the rest of the field, with five players tied on five under and a further four just two off the pace.

Starting on the back nine, Watson dropped his only shot on his third hole - the 12th - but bounced back with three birdies over the next four holes to reach the turn in 34.

He picked up another shot on the first before sinking an eagle on the next, then finishing his round with a final birdie to card six under and claim the clubhouse lead at the Genzon Golf Club.

"You know anytime you shoot six under, shoot in the 60s, you're happy with it but every golfer can pick and choose what they wish they did better. But all in all a great day and a good start," Watson told the European Tour website.

"I just made putts today. Most of my swings and most of my shots were really good today and there were no bad swings in there so it just made the score better."

Watson had completed his round when almost two hours of play was lost because of the lightning threat, while South African pair Dean Burmester and Haydn Porteous, France's Gregory Bourdy, Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee and Maximilian Kieffer of Germany were also able to finish to sit within a shot of the leader.

Porteous mixed 10 birdies with three bogeys and a double bogey on the par-five ninth to leave himself well-placed on the leaderboard alongside compatriot Burmester, who had a single bogey to blemish his first-round card of 67.

Bourdy enjoyed a flawless round with five birdies, Kieffer picked up six shots while dropping one on the sixth, while four birdies on the back nine helped Jaidee climb the leaderboard.

Dylan Frittelli was the only player among the group on four under to complete his opening round, with Eduardo de la Riva, Bernd Wiesberger and Thorbjorn Olesen set to complete their remaining holes when play resumes on Friday.

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