#AfrAsiaOpen Rd 1: What they're saying

Thu 07 May 2015

#AfrAsiaOpen Rd 1: What they're saying

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Thursday, May 7
Thorbjorn Olesen (Den) – First round 65 (-6)
The weather conditions were perfect on the front nine and I played well. It got a bit trickier on the back nine and I hit a few bad tee shots and left myself in the rough, which is difficult here. But my short game was very good, which is why I’m six under. I saved myself really well.
I holed a 40ft putt on the first and just kept going. I holed some good par putts too so that really helped me.
I’ve been waiting a long time for this – three months to play a competition round, so I was excited to get out there this morning. We had great conditions and I hit a lot of great putts, so it was fun.
Being out for three and a half months is a long time. Especially when you can’t do anything. You are just doing rehab training, so it is frustrating. I’m excited to be out here again and I’ll be playing a lot of golf now.
I’m really pleased to be back out here on the European Tour and play competition golf. I’ve been practising hard over the last two weeks but you don’t know what it will be like when you get out here. SO I didn’t have the biggest expectations. I knew I was swinging the club better than I have been, but you never know what will happen, so I couldn’t be happier with this start.
It’s an awesome start.
Having a break is very nice, but having a break because of injury is not very nice. You play so much golf so sometimes it is nice to get away from it and clear your mind, but I would definitely have preferred to have been without that injury.
Jeunghun Wang of Korea Jeunghun Wang of Korea
Jeunghun Wang (Kor) – First round 65 (-6)
I’m so happy with my score. The wind was so strong and the rain was very hard. I’m happy that I played like this and my putter was pretty nice today. The putter worked really well. On one, I hit it so hard and it was almost in the hole.
I’m enjoying my week in Mauritius. The weather wasn’t pretty nice today but I want to keep my golf going like this.
I didn’t think I could play a score like this. I think I got lucky today. It was hard conditions. I don’t know how I played liked this. I just want to keep going like this.
It was good that I was bogey free. I saved a lot of putts as well. Got into trouble a few times but made a few good putts for par. My putting has improved a lot and I managed to read the greens well.
I didn’t bring my rain gear this week, and just using my umbrella. The wind wasn’t so hard but it was more the rain as we were trying to keep my hands dry. I didn’t bring my towel too so it was tricky.
On 16, holed a 20-footer for birdie. Hit it hard and it went in. I think this round will help me a lot for the rest of the week. Today was hard and I managed to play like this. Hopefully tomorrow will be easier.
Carlos Pigem (Esp) - First Round 65 (-6)
I played pretty well today. I started well with three birdies then the rain and wind came so I made a few mistakes, but I finished strongly, so I’m pretty happy.
I’ve not thought about improving my world ranking but right now I’m on the top, so I have to try to play well for the next three days.
This is a lovely place. When I arrived I said ‘this is paradise, I have to play well’ so I’m glad I did.
I play on the Asian Tour at the moment so I’ve played the co-sanctioned events with the European Tour. I played in Malaysia, Thailand and India and made all three cuts and finished 17th in Thailand, so my season has started pretty well. I’ve taken some confidence from that. Today I didn’t expect I would play quite so well because the conditions were tough, so I’m happy with my game.
It’s my third year in Asia. I played the European Tour Q School last year but missed out at the final stage. It’s my target to be on the European Tour in the future and I know if I work hard I will be, but right now I’m enjoying it in Asia and learning a lot. I have two or three more co-sanctioned events, and the Spanish Open next week, so if I can do well I might play more on the European Tour. It’s tough not having many events, but I will try.
Rahil Gangjee of India Rahil Gangjee of India
Rahil Gangjee (Ind) – First round 67 (-4)
Looks like it all came down to the final five holes?
I think it did. We were battling out there. It wasn’t easy, it was very, very windy and it started raining and it stopped raining and then it started raining again. It just went on and on. So it was more tiring than a normal day. I was feeling it towards the end but somehow it came together in the end, made a few putts. Made a good one on seven, was able to get near the green in two and made a chip putt for birdie. Holed a 20 footer on eight and missed a small one on the last hole. No complaints.
What aspect of your game was tested the most today?
The long game is always tested here due to the wind. You have to hit it to the fairways to give your long irons a chance to get remotely close.
And you’re half Mauritian as well?
I’ve been coming here since I was in my mum’s belly. I’ve been back here for almost 10 times I think but it’s never been for golf. It’s always been family, holidays and lots of lovely food.
Given yourself a chance?
Sure, we have to go out there and do what we normally do. Since the golf course is challenging our minds are focused on getting the job done and not focused on the scores.
Any good birdies to talk about?
The par three on eight was a good one. Hit a three iron and holed a 30 footer which I made. It was a tricky putt as the slope was coming from the right which breaks off the hill. I liked that one
Seven was an easy putt. Five, hit it near the green and made a good chip and putt. 18 was a three shot hole and 16 was a nine iron in the rain.
Some of the other holes where I made par were even better as I made it in the wind and in the rain. I was more concerned with those than the birdies.
How would you build on a round like this?
I was thinking about it that the course is as such that you shouldn’t be thinking about the score. You think about every hole and every shot. If you mind is focused on the long shots, you don’t have time to think about anything else.
Terry Pilkadaris of Auatralia Terry Pilkadaris of Auatralia
Terry Pilkadaris (Aus) – First round 66 (-5)
How satisfying was that?
That was good. The back nine, the wind came. I was last group out this morning. The first nine, there wasn’t much breeze and standing on the 18th tee, the fan turned on and it got stronger as the day went on. Four under on the back nine, I’m happy with that. Missed a six foot birdie on the last hole.
Only blip was on 17 with the double?
I drove it into the fairway bunker and was up against the lip. I got a bit too greedy there and paid the prize for that. But the rest of the round was good.  First group out would have been perfect today. They would have played 15 or 16 holes without the breeze. And I was last out so I had about eight holes without any wind. It’s a one and half club to two club breeze, it’s challenging.
There are opportunities here. The first four holes, you need to hold on to your hat and there are opportunities to be had. You just try to build on this and draw on the good things.
Good to get a nice start?
Last event at the Volvo China Open, I was getting momentum and getting better each day but unfortunately on the back nine on Sunday didn’t go my way. Learned a couple of things from there. Try to apply that to this week
Fantastic location this week?
I’m enjoying the heat. And I’m going to Europe next week so I’m going to enjoy this.
Mardan Mamat Mardan Mamat
Mardan Mamat (Sin) – First round 69 (-2)
Got lucky with the morning draw, not too much wind on my first nine but it picked up a bit on the back nine. This course depends a lot on the wind. It’s starting to blow now and hopefully tomorrow afternoon, it’ll be better for us.
On some holes, you need to keep it at worst to a bogey as there are some holes to pick up your birdies.
I made a long birdie on two from about 30 feet which is a tough hole and another good birdie on five and birdied 18 as well. You just need to try to take your chances which I managed to do so today.
It’s a good place to be here. It’s so relaxing and my wife (Naz) is here and she’s also relaxing a bit as she’s been stressing back home. It’s really nice to be here. Fortunate that we can come to Mauritius, enjoy the resort and play golf for a living. You can’t complain.
Jazz Janewattananond (Tha) – First round 69 (-2)
Conditions were tough with the wind. It’s very easy to make mistakes and I had to stay focused all the time. I’m happy with the score. All the Thais only got in late on Tuesday night and only had one practice round and to get used to the conditions here right away. I saw some other Thais who have done well today, so I’m happy.
This course is tough, it’s not easy. It’s a good test. I enjoy playing it. It’s like combining Santiburi Samui Golf Club back home (on Samui island) and Indonesia two weeks ago (where it was windy). Really happy with the result as it wasn’t easy.
I struggled a bit last year but this year, it has been better. I’ve tried to stop thinking about the swing. Last year, I thought too much about the golf swing but not this year. I’m just going to let it happen and swing freely, like what I did on my first year on Tour. Just play like when I was young. I don’t want to think too much.
Made a good eagle on seven, chipped in from just off the green which was pretty good. You can’t be too aggressive in the wind, just stay patient and wait for the opportunities to come.
I love it here in Mauritius. I’m from Hua Hin where we have good beaches there but you can’t compare the water to here. It’s so clear here. I walked on the beached yesterday which was so nice.
Paul Peterson of USA Paul Peterson of USA
Paul Peterson (USA) – First round 69 (-2)
Definitely tough conditions. You just want to get by the first four holes and then I was able to do that in level par. Had some birdies, five, eight and 13 which was pretty good. But unfortunately, 17 got me and a few other players today but that’s okay. I’m happy with today’s round.
It’s been good where my game is at. I’m looking forward to building over the next three days. If 69 is going to be your worst round out here, then I’ll be where I want to be come Sunday afternoon.
I have a lot of goals that I want to achieve. Having those written down and having my team know what they are will help. I’m very motivated. The process work that I’ve been doing with my coaches keeps me in it. I know why I miss and I can adjust those tendencies.
This is pretty nice. I’ve got the girlfriend in town for the first time ever, her first time out of the country. So excited to have her here and looking forward to a great week. She got in at 6am and she followed the back nine which was nice to see her walking.
We’ll stay on for a few days after this week and I’m sure she’ll also enjoy being out of the office which will be good.