Karlberg takes opening honours #HSBCChampions

Thu 27 Oct 2016

Karlberg takes opening honours #HSBCChampions

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Shanghai, October 27: Sweden’s Rikard Karlberg marked his debut in a World Golf Championship event with an impressive eight-under-par 64 to lead the WGC-HSBC Champions by one shot from American Rickie Fowler on Thursday.
Fowler enjoyed a flawless 65 while defending champion Russell Knox of Scotland, is two shots back of Karlberg in tied-third place together with Daniel Berger of the United States and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama after posting a 66.
Karlberg, a two-time Asian Tour winner, made a spectacular start to his round at the Sheshan International Golf Club by posting four consecutive birdies before picking up another shot on the seventh hole to reach the turn in 31.
Russell Knox of Scotland Russell Knox of Scotland
The Swede then added four further birdies on the back nine to move to nine under par heading to the 17th tee, holding a two stroke lead at that point.
But after making a par on that hole, the 2010 Asian Tour rookie of the year dropped his only shot of the day on the closing hole.
“It was just one of those days where it was a walk in the park. I committed to a lot of shots and hit them perfectly, just as I wanted.
“With the wet conditions you just need to be aggressive, bomb to the tee and bomb to the pin, and that's what I did today. I had great distance control. I hit great shots all day except the last hole,” said Karlberg.
Fowler was bogey-free in his round of 65 as he chases another victory in an HSBC-sponsored event, following his early season win in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
“It’s always nice to start with seven under par, I’m pleased with that. I knew with the soft conditions they were going to try to tuck some pins. It was going to be very scoreable if you drove it in the fairways and I was able to do that.
“I played very well tee-to-green and that made things a lot easier from there. It was a stress-free, simple round,” said Fowler.
"It was just one of those days where it was a walk in the park. I committed to a lot of shots and hit them perfectly, just as I wanted." - Rikard Karlberg.

Knox meanwhile soaked in all the positives of his opening round and believes his mental approach towards his game was key to his promising first round effort.
“The first round is never my strongest so I’m delighted to get off to a flyer and shoot six under. I didn't put any pressure on myself, but you only get one shot at your first defence, so I want to make sure I have a good time over the next three days.
“When you're playing with Rickie Fowler, nobody cares if I'm defending champion. So that always takes a little pressure off. It's an honour to be the defending champion and hopefully I can keep my trophy,” said Knox.
For more details on the WGC-HSBC Champions and all ticket information, please visit www.HSBCgolf.com/mens or follow official WeChat account: HSBCChampions
Leading scores after round 1 of the WGC - HSBC Champions being played at the par 72, 7261 Yards Sheshan International Golf Club course (am - denotes amateur):
64 - Rikard KARLBERG (SWE).
65 - Rickie FOWLER (USA).
66 - Daniel BERGER (USA), Russell KNOX (SCO), Hideki MATSUYAMA (JPN).
67 - Bill HAAS (USA), Paul CASEY (ENG), Francesco MOLINARI (ITA).
68 - Dean BURMESTER (RSA), ZHANG Xinjun (CHN), Alex NOREN (SWE), Richard BLAND (ENG), Sergio GARCIA (ESP).
69 - Chris WOOD (ENG), Henrik STENSON (SWE), George COETZEE (RSA), Ross FISHER (ENG), Adam SCOTT (AUS), Lee WESTWOOD (ENG).
70 - Tyrrell HATTON (ENG), Jason KOKRAK (USA), Kevin CHAPPELL (USA), Thongchai JAIDEE (THA).
71 - Thomas PIETERS (BEL), J.B. HOLMES (USA), Gary WOODLAND (USA), Ryan MOORE (USA), Justin THOMAS (USA), Rafa CABRERA BELLO (ESP), Louis OOSTHUIZEN (RSA), Rory MCILROY (NIR), Bubba WATSON (USA), Bernd WIESBERGER (AUT).
Ends.
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About HSBC Golf Sponsorships
HSBC’s global commitment to golf encompasses all levels of the game, from grassroots to elite.
HSBC is a proud patron of The Open Championship and this partnership with The R&A creates a centre of gravity to a global golf portfolio that spans HSBC's key markets.  In Asia, HSBC has spearheaded the arrival of world class golf events with its flagship WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai and HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore.  The $9.5m WGC-HSBC Champions is renowned as ‘Asia’s Major’ and has made such an impact, that Rory McIlroy describes China as “an unstoppable force in world golf.”  HSBC has been co-title sponsor of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship since 2010 and the event has quickly become one of the biggest events on the European PGA Tour.
However, underpinning those international flagship events is a longer-term ambition to create a legacy from HSBC’s global tournaments through its sponsorship of youth development and grassroots programmes. In China, HSBC supports the HSBC China Junior Golf Program, a sustainable long-term structure and framework upon which the future of Chinese golf is being built. In Hong Kong, HSBC supports the HSBC Hong Kong Junior Golf Programme, a structured pathway for children to try the sport for the first time, develop their skills and, for those talented enough, the chance to represent Hong Kong on the international stage. In the UK, HSBC is sponsor of HSBC Golf Roots - The Golf Foundation's national development programme which promotes the sport in schools, helps youngsters into clubs and uses golf to promote important life skills.
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About the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions
In 2017, the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions will be the first of four World Golf Championships events sanctioned and organized by the International Federation of PGA Tours on the PGA TOUR schedule. The other World Golf Championships include the Mexico Championship (Mexico City), the Bridgestone Invitational (Akron, Ohio) and the Dell Match Play (Austin, Texas).
About the Asian Tour
As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include ECCO (Official Footwear Sponsor), FENIX XCell (Official Apparel Supplier), Hilton Worldwide (Official Hotel Partner), Titleist (Official Web Partner), Bloomberg TV (Official International Media Sponsor), Bloomberg Businessweek Chinese (Official Business Publication Sponsor) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). Sentosa, Singapore is the Home of the Asian Tour which also has an office in Kuala Lumpur.
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