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If you’re an Australian-born golfer it is a good time of year to be playing well.
When the greater part of their professional colleagues are looking forward to a winter break the likes of Marcus Fraser are thinking ahead to a summer of golf on Australian soil.
And Fraser could not have asked for better preparation ahead of next week’s Emirates Australian Open than to put himself straight into contention and moving into a four-way share of the lead on the opening day of the European Tour season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
Fraser, who is competing on the Greg Norman-designed Earth Course at Jumeirah Estates for a fourth occasion in five years, was first to go to six-under par before being joined by England’s Ian Poulter and then double major-winning Martin Kaymer and a second Englishman in Andy Sullivan with rounds of 66.
The effort was Fraser’s equal-lowest first round this European Tour season after also staring with a 66 in last month’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland.
However it was not till the 35-year old Fraser finished T13th in last week’s BMW Masters in China to move to No. 53 on the Race to Dubai he was assured of teeing up in the UAE, and after missing much of 2014 due to a wrist injury.
“You know you must have done a few things right when you get to tee up here in the DP World,” said Fraser. “It’s also a nice reward after an indifferent 2014 season having only managed to contest six events last year because of my injured wrist.
“The good thing about the course for me today is that the greens are very undulating and you do get a lot of assistance on the greens. Also I like what Greg (Norman) has done here at Jumeirah as you do have a lot of options off the tee and seems to be a trademark of his golf courses.Most of the courses I have played that Greg has designed are pretty good, and he seems to know what he’s doing.
“The only real problem today was my alarm going off at 5am so this should make for a bit of a lie in tomorrow and then going forward hopefully this can be a good week for me to finish off the European Tour season before heading back home to compete in Australia.”
Fraser has won twice on the European Tour claiming an emotional maiden victory in the 2010 Ballantine’s Championship in South Korea and then taking out the 2013 Russian Open.
But as Fraser sets his sights now on a third Tour victory he also has one eye on next week’s Australian Open at The Australian Golf Club in Sydney.
“I’ve got two big events coming up when I get back home including the Australian Open and the Australian PGA up at Royal Pines, so I am very much looking forward to both. Next week’s Australian Open is very important to me as my best finish in the tournament was about a 16th or 17th finish, so I have never played well in the event.
“It’s frustrating as it’s the one tournament in the year I do want to play very well and I haven’t managed to achieve that. I just hope I am not putting too much pressure on myself but then I’m no different to the Irish, the Scots, the Swedes or the Italian golfers out here as we each want to win our national open at least once in our career.
“It would be great to have an Australian Open win on my golfing CV and looking back I think I played well just one year at that was The Lakes when I was leading after two rounds but then fell away massively. But then I do like the Australian Club including standing up there on the practice putting green looking out over the golf course.
“The golf course really doesn’t suit my game all that well but then if I continue to play well here in Dubai this week, you never know what might happen in Sydney later next week.”