MMO Rd 1: What they said

Thu 17 Apr 2014

MMO Rd 1: What they said

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LEE WESTWOOD (ENG) – FIRST ROUND 65 (-7)
Three birdies to finish and a decent day’s work?
Yes, I played well. I didn’t make the best of starts bogeying the par five tenth, the first hole of the day, but fortunately that didn’t set the tone for the day. I hit it really well and hit it close a lot. I had to be patient because I was hitting good putts and they weren’t going in. I holed one from about eight feet on my 16th, 25 feet on the second-last hole and a nice 15-footer with a bit of curl on the last. So it was a good round of golf in tricky conditions. It’s obviously very hot and you have to keep hydrated. The course is soft so it’s playing its longest, and the greens are firm – it’s testament to how good the construction of the greens are when you consider the rain we’ve had over the past couple of days. They are still releasing out, which was hard to get your head around.
We talked yesterday about your Masters performance last week, and this just continues that.
I played well in Houston the week before the Masters and used that momentum going into the Masters. I played well last week in finishing seventh, and I was happy to carry that on today. Obviously this is a slightly harder golf course than Augusta, but if you’re shooting low-ish scores at Augusta, you should expect to come here and shoot low scores, which I did today. I’m pleased to get off to a good start – it’s nice to have a good one and build some momentum for the week.
Does playing in these conditions affect what you do now before tomorrow’s round?
Well I won’t be standing on the range for three hours, that’s for sure. Having hit the ball well, there’s not really anything to do but go back to the hotel, hydrate and relax.
NICOLAS COLSAERTS (BEL) – FIRST ROUND 66 (-6)
What pleased you most about the round today?
A bit of patience. It’s funny, I’ve waited for a round like this since January 1st. I just kept my momentum going and made a few bounce-backs. I parred the two par fives on the front which is a bit disappointing, but I kept very patient and that in the end was what made a difference.
Three birdies in a row on the back nine – your front nine – how important was that?
Yeah I made a pretty steady start with a nice couple of par saves and then was able to get on that roll and get under par into a very comfortable position. From there it kicked on nicely. I kept it going on the front nine and hit a lot of shots very close. It was pretty good to have a few birdies from very close range.
How does this round compare to what’s been happening over in the States for you this year?
I’ve felt I’ve played pretty well since early in the season, but there’s always been a stretch of holes where I’ve shot myself in the foot for some reason. I’ve missed good opportunities to have good weeks. So the plan is to come back here to get some momentum and confidence back.
It’s a fantastic course, isn’t it?
It is. I’ve played here a bunch of times and it’s always one of the nicer stops in Asia. I’ve played pretty well here over the years and even though it’s pretty hot, you learn to deal with it. The course is in fantastic shape, just like any other year.
Must be nice to get finished and inside before the afternoon storms?
A: Yeah I think there will be a storm soon. But every time you come here you know that’s going to happen and you know at some point you’ll be spending a couple of hours in the clubhouse in the middle of your round waiting for the storm to pass. That’s the way it is. But it was good to get the round done today.
MICHAEL HOEY (ITA) – FIRST ROUND 67 (-5)
Q: Just talk us through the highlights of the round.
A: A lot of putts went in – that was the highlight. I holed a 50-footer on the 13th up the hill. That’s a tough hole anyway so a birdie there is like picking up two shots on the rest of the field. It was good chipping and putting all the way, so I’m really happy. It’s weird because my grips hadn’t set properly and I didn’t have a lot of confidence before I went out. The grips were moving slightly so I was having to hold down the grip. So it just shows you in golf if you have low expectations you  play well.
Q: Is the course set up to your liking?
A: I’ve never done well here, but I’m handling the heat a lot better and I’m reading the grain on the greens a lot better. The greens have always been tough here and quite grainy, but I think they’ve been relaid and the surface is firmer. It’s always in good condition here, it’s a good tournament.
Q: Plenty of players under par here this morning – it must be nice to have got out early and posted a good score?
A: Yeah it is a big advantage to get out early on the first day, because then you can rest before a later tee time tomorrow. If you’re out in the afternoon, it can be stop-start for storms and then you’re back out early the next morning. It’s more tiring. Luckily I’ve got a nice long break now to recover.
PRAYAD MARKSAENG (THA) – FIRST ROUND 69 (-3)
I played very well except for one hole on the 17 when I hit two tee shots into the water. It was only that one hole which gave me a bad score. Otherwise I played very good from tee-to-green. I won in Thailand last week so I’m feeling very confident with my game.
Winning in Thailand and playing in the EurAsia Cup three weeks ago have given me added motivation for this week. I really hope I can continue playing like how I’ve been playing lately. It was great to play with Lee Westwood. He is such a good player. He hits it long and straight and has a good putter. I look forward to playing with him again.
PROM MEESAWAT (THA) - FIRST ROUND 70 (-2)
Of course I’m happy because this golf course is not easy to play on. I just missed one bad drive but made a good up-and-down on 13. I tried to find the fairways and hole putts. Both my birdie putts were from one feet on the two par fives (holes 3 and 5).
The key here is to get your ball on the fairway. I’ve played here many times but I don’t feel very comfortable here because it is a tricky golf course. You feel a bit comfortable when you step up on the tee because you know the layout but it is still a tough golf course.
My game is a bit different from Kiradech (Aphibarnrat). If you can hit it past 280 yards then you can carry the bunkers and have a short iron into the green. I just tried to get on the fairways and hit it as close as I can to the pin.
I was very excited when I heard from the doctor that we will be expecting twins. I always talk to my wife at night and tell her to take things slowly. Both of us are very happy with the news.
KHOR KHENG HWAI (MAS) – FIRST ROUND 72 (EVEN PAR)
It was a great start. I had a lucky bounce on the fifth hole to make eagle. I still tried to make birdies after that but I was unlucky with some putts. It felt good to be playing well because I haven’t been playing good in the last few weeks.
I was riding some confidence after shooting three-under early in the round so hopefully I can stick to the same game plan tomorrow.
I want to go out and enjoy my game on such a big stage. I need to keep myself composed. Sometimes I get ahead of myself when I hit my tee shots to the middle of the fairway. I always make stupid mistakes.
I hit my hybrid (221 metres to the flag) really well and got a lucky bounce which landed five feet from the hole. I wasn’t really concentrating on the leaderboard. Since last year, my game has actually matured and I’m playing more consistently. I like to take these chances and hopefully I can push forward.
I’m seeing a new coach (Ng Shern Wei) now and he has been helping me a lot. We’ve been working on my swing to get more consistent shots which cut down a lot of problems for me.
BEN LEONG (MAS) – FIRST ROUND 72 (EVEN PAR)
I’m happy because I haven’t been in this sort of professional environment for quite a while. I’m pleased and happy and I’m looking forward to tomorrow. My last Asian Tour event was in the Queen’s Cup in Thailand in 2012. I started playing on the local circuits and some Asian Development Tour events since December, 2013.
To be honest I was feeling nervous. It was tough and it wasn’t easy. I was proud of myself because I handled it well. I guess I need a few more rounds like this to feel comfortable again. I’m excited for tomorrow. I won’t say that I’m 100% but I’m good enough to be out here playing. I definitely need more events to sharpen my game.