Date: May 23, 2008

Fraser on McGinley’s tail

Australian Marcus Fraser shot a 67 to be just two strokes behind leader Paul McGinley after the opening round of the BMW PGA Championship. Fraser&aposs five-under-par round was enough for a share of third place alongside South African Louis Oosthuizen. Fellow Aussie Richard Green also made a promising start to be among a large group of players at two-under and tied for 12th spot. McGinley, whose slide outside the world&aposs top 150 has not stopped him believing &aposthere is a lot more good golf left in me&apos, shot a seven-under-par 65 in exactly what the 41-year-old Dubliner was looking for in his biggest week of the year so far. Desperately keen to earn a fourth Ryder Cup cap – he resigned as an assistant to European captain Nick Faldo insisting he wanted to focus solely on his game – McGinley turned in a supreme display of shot-making skills. He did so on a bouncy West Course that may have suited him, but certainly did not bring the best out of some of the big guns. Ernie Els, whose redesign of the course was aimed at making it more taxing, and Darren Clarke struggled to 75s, while Justin Rose and Retief Goosen were one worse than that and Lee Westwood could do no better than 77. Double bogeys on the 15th and 16th even had the Ryder Cup points leader laughing and when asked about his amusement afterwards, Westwood said: “I was seeing the funny side of not being able to hit the hole from three feet.” Swede Robert Karlsson, another of the 2006 heroes trying to force his way into the 2008 side, coped much better and with a 66 is in second place. “I like to be challenged with course management and ball control,” said McGinley. “And when it&aposs playing hard and fast this is a real proper test of golf. “This is old-style. That is what the game was initially designed around and I revel in it.” Three-time champion Colin Montgomerie was three-over after three but battled back for a 73, while Paul Casey, winner of the World Match Play on the course two years ago, was three-under until he pulled a drive out of bounds and ran up a double-bogey seven at the 17th. Of the other Australasians, Peter O&aposMalley is one-under, Scott Strange is one-over and New Zealander Mark Brown had a three-over 75. Fellow Kiwi Michael Campbell and Aussies Brett Rumford and Kane Webber all had disastrous eight-over-par rounds and sit near the tail of the field. First Round Scores from the BMW PGA Championship -7: Paul McGinley 65 -6: Robert Karlsson 66 -5: Marcus Fraser (Australia) 6, Louis Oosthuizen 67 -4: Garry Houston 68, Charl Schwartzel 68, Daniel Vancsik 68, Simon Wakefield 68 -3: Michael Lorenzo-Vera 69, Alvaro Velasco 69, Marc Warren 69 -2: Magnus Carlsson 70, Magnus SSP 70, Robert-Jan Derksen 70, Nick Dougherty 70, Rafa Echenique 70, Richard Green (Australia) 70, Anton Haig 70, Gergory Havret 70, David Howell 70 Also: -1: Peter O&aposMalley (Australia) 71 +1: Scott Strange (Australia) 73 +3: Mark Brown (New Zealand) 75 +1: Scott Strange (Australia) 73 +8: Brett Rumford (Australia) 80, Kane Webber (Australia) 80, Michael Campbell (New Zealand) 80