Date: January 19, 2007
Author: Sportal

Green on target in Abu Dhabi

Sportal Australian Richard Green has shot a superb five-under par to be within touch of the leaders after the first round of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship in the UAE. Nick O&aposHern is also sitting well on four-under. Green wasted no time getting started as he birdied the first two holes. The Victorian headed through the turn at four under the card and birdied 10 to put himself in a great position. However a bogey on the par four 13th saw him drop a stroke, but the left hander recovered to make some crucial pars before birdying the final hole to card a first round 67. O&aposHern also started positively with birdies on two and three before another pair on 10 and 11. A bogey on 16 was a setback for the West Australian but he finished strongly with another birdie to card a round of 68. Green and O&aposHern are four and five strokes respectively behind runaway leader Phillip Archer who shot a blistering nine-under 63. The Englishman amassed ten birdies including five in his first seven holes. Countryman Nick Dougherty is tied for second on six-under with South African Retief Goosen and Swede Henrik Stenson who was even lucky to be alive after being involved in a motor accident on his way to the course. Archer, who shot a final round 60 to finished fifth at the Welsh Open attributed his recent improvement to putting technicial, Dr. Paul Hurrion who has helped the likes of Padraig Harrington and David Howell. “It&aposs common sense what he tells you to do,” Archer told the European PGA Tour website. “It’s got me better in terms of my weight distribution over the ball and the big thing he changed was my grip. He&aposs got me gripping with both palms facing each other, so my thumbs are basically the same height and it levels up my shoulders.” Whatever Archer has been taught, it&aposs working. But despite his superb nine-under, it&aposs only the first round. Nipping at his heels is the trio of players at six-under including Stenson who explained his mid-morning drama. “I was feeling a bit sleepy in the morning but what happened woke me up,” he joked. “I missed the road as I was driving to the course and had to take a detour. Not far from here, a lorry turned right across the traffic in front of me and I had to hit the brakes and just managed to avoid going into the side of it.” “I scratched my car and ended up in the sand off the road. I got here 45 minutes before my tee time instead of an hour and 45 minutes. The guy didn t speak English but said sorry and I had to leave the scene without waiting for the police. I didn t have many swings on the range so 66 was a good start after everything that happened.” Leading scores after the first round of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, UAE (par 72): -9: Phillip Archer -6: Nick Dougherty, Retief Goosen, Henrik Stenson -5: Richard Green (Australia), Gary Emerson, Paul Lawrie -4: Ariel Canete, Oliver Fisher, Sergio Garcia, Julien Guerrier (Am), Padraig Harrington, James Hepworth, Thongchai Jaidee, Nick O&aposHern (Australia), Graeme Storm, Anthony Wall -3: Chris DiMarco, Stephen Dodd, Ian Garbutt, Francesco Molinari, Colin Montgomerie, Phillip Price, Robert Rock Also: -2: Brett Rumford (Australia) E: Marcus Fraser (Australia) +1: Matthew Millar (Australia) +2: Terry Price (Australia)