Groom sweeps into early Macau lead

Thu 23 Oct 2014

Groom sweeps into early Macau lead

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Macau, October 23: Australian Adam Groom lived up to the old adage of ‘Beware the injured golfer’ when he snatched the early first round lead with a fine six-under-par 65 at the Venetian Macau Open on Thursday.
With his back heavily strapped, the 35-year-old fired seven birdies against a lone bogey on a chilly day at the Macau Golf and Country Club to hold a three-shot cushion over countryman Marcus Both, American Sam Cyr and Thailand’s Prom Meesawat, who all carded 68s.
Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain
Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez, one of the top draws this week, struggled on the greens to sign for a 72 while last week’s Hong Kong Open runner-up Angelo Que of the Philippines opened his campaign with a 70.
Groom was delighted to set the early pace, considering he avoided hitting any balls on Wednesday to preserve his back. Two monster putts from 30 and 25 feet at the fifth and seventh holes kicked started his round.
“I just played really steady, kept it in play and hit a lot of greens. I holed a couple of bombs from and then it was just pretty steady on the back nine. I’m really happy with this,” said Groom.
“My back is all tapped up. Barbara (tour physiotherapist) is working on it ... magic hands. I’m going to have an MRI done next week when I get home, it’s been coming and going over the past year and a half. It’s exactly the same problem, lower back left side.  If I have one or two treatments, it usually gets back to neutral again. She’s tapped it up and I slept with it last night.”
Prom, who ended a winless eight-year streak at the Yeangder Tournament Players Championship recently, scrambled well for a 68 after missing seven greens in regulation.
“Good to be under par,” smiled the man nicknamed the Big Dolphin due to his physique and the fact that he hails from the coastal town of Hua Hin.
Prom Meesawat of Thailand Prom Meesawat of Thailand
“It was disappointing to bogey the last on the ninth after I hit a bad tee shot. On this course, it’s not easy if you miss your tee shots. You must get your ball in play. I’ve been playing good and I’ll try to search for another win,” said the Thai, who finished tied eighth here two years ago.
After losing a play-off in Hong Kong last week, Que started his campaign in Macau with a fighting display, coming back from being three over through 11 holes with birdies on the third, fifth, sixth and ninth holes.
“It was tough. The wind was up this morning and it died down when we were finishing. I didn’t hole many putts on my front which was the back nine but I figured out something and made a few birdies coming in,” he said.
Like Groom, he teed up with a sore back after sleeping poorly last night. “I think I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. On the follow through, there’s a sharp pain and you’re kind of scared to hit it but I still hit it pretty good,” said Que.