Date: October 18, 2012
Author: Paul Barbieri, Omnisport

Hall back where he belongs

Ashley Hall said he very nearly did not compete in the Australian tour this summer, saying he was on the verge of simply looking for a &aposreal job&apos. Speaking on Thursday afternoon after being one of the leading lights on the first day at the Perth International, Hall said it was touch and go whether he would even play this summer as financial difficulties hit hard. However a 22nd-place finish in the Dunhill Links tournament a fortnight ago supplied Hall with the cash needed to compete and he made the most of the opportunity, posting a four-under 68 in his first round at Lake Karrinyup to be in a tie for fifth midway through the opening day. At one stage Hall led the field after posting four birdies from five holes between the seventh and 11th, but a bogey on 16 saw him finish with a 68 to be currently behind dual leaders Michael Hendry (New Zealand) and Alejandro Canizares (Spain), who opened with seven-under 65s on Thursday. Argentine Emiliano Grillo, the second youngest player on the European Tour at 20 years of age, is third at six under ahead of Englishman Andrew Johnston a further stroke behind ahead of six-strong group at five-under that includes Hall. Hall, though, was simply happy to be in the field as he looks to build up some good form before travelling to Q-school in the USA. “To be perfectly honest, I was almost not going to be playing during the summer this year for financial reasons,” Hall said. “It was upsetting that I didn&apost know what I was going to do. “I&aposve got a young boy now who has just turned one and a little house, like everyone else has got. “We had not got a cheque in ages and my wife was not working and it was just getting hard. “It&aposs expensive travelling week to week, (but) it&aposs good now, so I&aposm not bothered about it.” Hall said his game on Thursday was built around simply doing the basics right. “Just solid golf really,” he said. “I find it&aposs a course that you&aposve just got to plod your way around and take advantage of a couple of short holes. “And I just basically didn&apost really make a mistake, and I just always kept it in play and that&aposs I think what I&aposve improved a lot in the last year or so. I&aposm just a hell of a lot more consistent.” Although some younger names like Hendry, Canizares and Grillo are leading the way, veteran Aussie Greg Chalmers, who is also on five-under with Hall, believes there is every chance an older player will take out the Perth tournament on Sunday. “I think the hardest thing for most people, and it&aposs something I struggle with in my career, is being used to being in that fishbowl,” Chalmers said. “Being used to being that guy that everyone is watching to see what you were doing. “Most kids when they start out, young guys, going out, shooting six under, seven under on the first day and then feel like people are watching and then they find a way to mess that up.”