Venetian Macau Open Rd 1: What they said

Thu 17 Oct 2013

Venetian Macau Open Rd 1: What they said

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Thursday, October 17
Scott Barr (Aus) – First round 68 (-3) 
Tough conditions but you put in a great round. Must have been nice?
Yeah, I played well. Had a couple of chances on my back nine but I couldn’t get it in. Hit the ball good enough and made some up and downs early in the round and kept it going. The ball wasn’t flying early this morning. It was very windy, very dark and murky. I knew it was going to be tough. I have played here a lot and I get the idea of the wind and what to hit. Today, I drove the ball great and put it in play which is half the battle here.
10 years must seem like a long time ago?
A long time ago. I thought about it this week. Obviously I played well back then (2003 when he lost in a play-off to Colin Montgomerie). I horse-shoed the last hole to win the tournament. The pin was about the same spot today and I know what that does. (He birdied the 18th hole today) It’s history, this week is the priority.
Game has been good in the past few months?
My game has been pretty good. I just haven’t been scoring well. I’ve been making cuts and running in the pack. The game is sort of there. Today, I worked on a few things like the pitching and it feels alright. It’s a long way to go. I’m not sure what the forecast is but if it stays like this, I’m actually looking forward to it.
Ernie Els of South Africa Ernie Els of South Africa
Kalle Samooja (Fin) – First round 68 (-3)
I hit some good putts and made the most of my approach shots. It was a good nine holes coming in. On the front, it was pretty tough. It was blowing pretty hard but it got calmer on the back nine. Hit it to two feet on number two for eagle and made good putts from six, seven and eight.
It’s been tough the past few months. Got unlucky with the draw last week, got the second round in the hard wind and also in Taiwan when I struggled in the second round. I’m just hoping to get my game in good shape in the last three rounds and see what happens.
I’m in the middle of a swing change. You will never know what happens the next day. You can have a good round and stay in the game but in the next round, it can be whatever.
I’ve always been hitting a lot with my arms. I’m trying to hit it more with my body. After playing a certain way for 10 to 15 years, it is difficult to change. But it’s definitely a change that I need to get better as a player.
Ben Campbell (Nzl) – First round 68 (-3)
It was good. My first ever hole in one which was pretty exciting. I was rapped about it and couldn’t take the smile off my face. I lost track what I was shooting and it was good. I was happy making the hole in one. Hit a six iron, kind of chipped in and never left the flag. Rolled up and rolled in. It was pretty cool to get my first one. It’s a tricky one and the wind was blowing.
I can’t tell you how many birdies I made. Had like six or seven birdies and one double, a couple of loose shots but all in all, I’m happy with where I’m at. I got punished for some average shots. Holed some good putts down there at the end.
Only my third Asian Tour event this year. Playing off invites this year from IMG. Good to take advantage of the invites. Takes a bit of the pressure off after today’s round. All in all, I’m pretty happy with the day.
Played for New Zealand, my first year as a pro now. It’s been up and down. Didn’t play well at the Qschool. It’s not been a great year but I’ve learnt a lot and just trying to take in the experience and move on.
Jeev Milkha Singh of India Jeev Milkha Singh of India
Ernie Els (RSA) – First round 71 (E)
First of all happy birthday. After being four over through seven, you must be pleased with your round?
I have to be happy with that. It was a tough start. It’s still blowing now. It was quite dark and it looked like it was going to come down on us. But we got it in the house. I started hitting some nice shots. Made a little adjustment with my putter and made some three or four footers. All in all, it’s not a bad day.
First look at the course, what do you think of it?
It’s a demanding course. When you’re off, you’re going to make big numbers. That’s the challenge, stay away from the big numbers and try to plod away. I felt good with the driver today and hit some good drives. Some of the par fives were a good advantage for me.
You’ve been here less than 24 hours, played some holes in the pro-am, attended the gala dinner. How did you sleep last night?
I think I had a four-hour sleep which was great. I slept quite a lot on the plane coming here as it was a long flight. You just get on with it. But the older you get, the tougher it gets. At 44, it’s getting difficult. I’ve got to look at my schedule.
You’re here for three weeks. You do love coming over to Asia?
I always love coming here. It’s a wonderful place in the world to come play golf. I’ve seen the (Asian) Tour grow nicely and so many great players now. Golf is such an exciting sport in Asia and you just want to be part of it. I’ve been coming over here for nearly 20 years now and it’s exciting to see the changes over here.
Zhang Lian-wei (Chn) – First round 69 (-2)
Today was very difficult, not just for me but for all players. I’m happy with a two-under-par start. The wind made it difficult. You have to control your distance and try to keep the ball on the fairway. Sometimes, the ball goes this way but after you hit the ball, it goes another way.
I’ll try to win the tournament. But it’s only one round. I’m not too old … 48 already. I’m happy to still be playing. This year, the greens are very fast and the course conditions are very good. You can control your ball on the greens which are receptive. This is Asian Tour style. I’ll keep trying to play well.
Jeev Milkha Singh (Ind) – First round 70 (-1)
I’m happy with that after all the weeks that I’ve had. I’m glad to be back in Asia. One under has given me a lot of confidence for the next three days. I hit a lot of good shots and putted well. I handled myself well as there was a lot of pain in my hand. I’m glad with one under.
That’s part of the package now. I’ve made the decision to play golf until the end of the year. I’m going to carry on. Obviously I can’t hit the full shots with the driver but irons I can. But at least I’ll keep the ball in play with the driver and get the irons right.
I missed a small three foot putt for par on nine. I was two under par and I went straight to the practice green as I wanted to get that out of my mind and start fresh again tomorrow.