#ThailandClassic Rd 1: What they said

Thu 12 Feb 2015

#ThailandClassic Rd 1: What they said

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Hua Hin, Thailand, February 12: Read what leading contenders have to say following their opening round at the inaugural True Thailand Classic presented by Black Mountain.
Michael Hoey (Nir), Eight-under-par 64
Q: What do you think of a round of 64 to start?
A: I’ll take it. I know the course is scoreable because there’s not a lot of rough, but the wind picks up and the last few holes were tricky today. We probably had ten or 11 holes with no much wind, which was the advantage of teeing off early. But the last few holes were tricky. I putted well and it suits me that if you have a bit of length off the tee, you can cut a few corners and reach the par fives in two. So the course suits me, and I saw that in the pro-am yesterday.
Q: So with the wind up it must be even more satisfying to have a flawless card?
A: Yes it has been a long time since I had a bogey-free card. I was talking to my coaches recently about throwing in double bogeys too often, so to be bogey-free and have no fives on the card and a course record is a nice start. I’m swinging the club well so hopefully I can put three more good rounds together and see what happens.
Q: What was the approach to get rid of the double bogeys?
A: I sent a video of my swing from the range to the guys yesterday and I was hitting it well. I was hitting a little draw shot and they said to go with that rather than trying to play perfect golf. It’s just about keeping your rhythm, simple stuff. It’s not as demanding as the Middle East courses or last week. There’s less water in play but the greens are tough, and I managed to leave myself on the right side of the pin a lot. It was sensible golf.
Q: You’ve been out here long enough to know not to chase for perfection, don’t you?
A: Yes. I left myself some easier uphill putts today and converted them. Whereas if you’re past the pin it’s about 15 on the stimp and you could easily three-putt, so you’ve got to concentrate on what you’re doing. Even though the course is fairly straightforward, the greens aren’t. With the wind coming up, it’s not as easy as you think.
Q: Has it been frustrating, the run you’ve been on?
A: Yes. I started to hit the ball well in the Middle East but I was coming 50th or thereabouts each week. At least I was making cuts and making money, but throwing in a few double bogeys was ruining my scorecards. Hopefully this is the start of some more bogey-free stuff.
Q: But you’re not going to get carried away?
A: Oh no. This is a marathon. I’m just pleased to get something out of it, because I’ve been working hard for a long time and not getting the scores. This is really satisfying to get a good score. Hopefully I can follow it up tomorrow, Friday 13th is going to be lucky for me.
David Lipsky of the USA David Lipsky of the USA
David Lipsky (Usa), Seven-under-par 65
Good round to get going?
It was pretty good today. I scored well as it was tricky to get to a lot of the locations.
The winds were awkward and with the elevation on this course, hitting it up and down makes it a little tough.
How were the course conditions?
I’ve played here a couple of times and the course is in great shape right now. Scoring conditions are perfect. If you get to the wrong side of these pins, it’s hard to make pars. You’re looking at 20 footers.
Ready to move on from last week?
I had a bad finish to the week in Malaysia but each and every week, I’ve been getting better and this is the first stretch of the year and my game is in pretty good shape and looking forward to the rest of the season. It’s always work in progress and trying to get better all the time.
Hung Chien-yao of Chinese Taipei Hung Chien-yao of Chinese Taipei
Hung Chien-yao (Tpe), Seven-under-par 65
How good was it for you today?
This is my second time here and I feel that the golf conditions are great! It feels great to be playing here. I was feeling very relaxed when I went out there today and there was no pressure and I played the best I could.
How did you cope with the windy conditions?
This is okay for us as we are used to such conditions back home. In fact, I think we need some wind to cool us down.
 Are you surprised to find yourself right up the leaderboard?
I just try to play the best I can and hopefully the next three days I can just follow my plan and do the best I can.
Shiv Kapur of India Shiv Kapur of India
Shiv Kapur (Ind), First round Six-under-par 66
What do you think of a 66 on your birthday?
It’s a nice present. You wake up in the morning hoping for a good day because you don’t want to be grumpy for the rest of the day. I couldn’t have asked for a better result. Blemish-free. Six birdies, played really solid. I think the early start, being sick this week. Maybe the mind just switched off and I just got down to playing golf and didn’t think too much. Maybe that’s what I needed.
What happened? How’re you feeling now?
I guess it’s the couple of hot weather weeks and you are drinking lots of ice. They keep saying beware of the injured/sick golfer and it seems to work. Hopefully I can stay sick and keep playing the way I’m!
Has this sickness affected you in terms of your preparations?
I didn’t hit as many balls as I wanted to. But maybe it’s a blessing in disguise as I went out there more fresh than usual.
Fifth week in a row but pretty quiet by your standards?
I think it’s the early season rust. I felt like I play really well last week but go nothing in return in terms of results. It all comes down to holing a few putts. I got up this morning and I managed to do that. And that set the tone for the rest of the day. I’m looking forward to the rest of the week and also the year.
How familiar are you with Black Mountain?
I played here once before about five or six years ago. I’ve good memories of this place. It’s a good track. The greens are obviously very tricky. It does favour the long hitters. I put a new driver in the bag this week and it seems to be working. It has put a little bit of length as I’m getting onto all the par-five as I don’t remember getting on in two in the past years. That made the difference.
How are you planning to celebrate your birthday tonight?
Now that I’ve put myself sort of in the frame for this golf tournament, I’m probably going to take it easy a little bit. I’m just going for dinner, have a couple of drinks and take it easy.