#VenetianMacaoOpen Rd 1 - What they said

Thu 13 Oct 2016

#VenetianMacaoOpen Rd 1 - What they said


Thursday, October 13

Ian Poulter (Eng) – First round score 64 (-7)

I just tried to get my game into shape coming out here. Today was a nice day, birdied all the par fives which is obviously very helpful and I didn’t make any mistake. It’s the type of course where you don’t make a mistake, you can piece together a very nice score. Solid play, I kept the ball in play. There was never a point where I was really out of position. I hit most of the greens in regulation which is obviously the key. If you miss some of these greens, you can leave yourself with some tricky up and downs.

Obviously my first one with a scorecard in four and half months, so I’m very happy. It’s very important as you have no idea what to expect. As much as you think you can prepare, I’ve never had four and half months off in my life. It’s an unusual position but I played nicely. It’s a long way to go in this tournament. The most important thing I’ll take away from this is how solid I played, how nicely I putted and I’ve worked in all areas of my game to get ready and obviously it’s a start.

Carlos Pigem of Spain Carlos Pigem of Spain

There’s no cure for arthritis, so rest and rehab and trying to take away the inflammation which is the key part. I had numerous cortisone injections and I had to be aware I couldn’t take any more of those on board. It was a case of resting and wearing different orthotics. I’ve got a carbon plate in the foot, it’s a bit awkward. It’s going to be there, it’s not going to go away so obviously I’ve got to manage it from a perspective of pain relief. I’ve not taking any pain killers or anti inflammatory in the past several months and that’s the best thing I could possibly do. I’ve been using laser therapy, about a year ago. I have a machine at home and if I feel the pain coming back, I treat it with laser and it’s been effective.

I had the longest layoff of my life without touching my clubs. It must have been at least 14 weeks without picking a club up which is unusual but I had to do it. I had to get the repetitiveness off that foot as that created the arthritis.

It was pretty late I decided to come to Macao. It’s difficult as the British Masters is on this week and I would have wanted to play in it. But for me I’ve got only a minimum number of events to play for PGA Tour status and obviously next week (CIMB Classic) is one of those I’m playing. I wanted to be in the right time zone without jetlag. It was a tough decision as I hosted it last year and it’s a big event.

Carlos Pigem (Esp) – First Round 64 (-7)

To be honest, on mini golf, or pitch and putt, I may have shot (28) in mini golf, in pitch and putt and certainly not in a tournament. I’m certainly excited about that and how I finished the round. Hit a lovely driver on three and had 40 yards and the ball went towards the pin and the crowds reacted. I was really happy.

I’ve been playing badly the past few weeks. So happy today. I enjoyed myself on the golf course today, made birdies again which is important and hopefully I can keep it like this for the rest of the three days.

It’s an honour my name is in the same place as Ian Poulter, let’s see what happens tomorrow.

After I finish the front nine, I realized I shot a 28 which I’ve never done before. The important thing is that I shot under par as I’ve been struggling the last few weeks. I hope this is the beginning of good and new things. Everything worked. On the second hole, I had a lip out for eagle and then had a good chip for the eagle on three. Made a great up and down on five and had chances for birdies and I made it.

It was windy on the front nine which is not really my strong point. So I’m happy I managed to play like this. Just try to stick to my game plan. Had chances for birdies on my back nine but made bogeys instead as it’s a tough course.

Ian Poulter of England and Branden Grace of South Africa Ian Poulter of England and Branden Grace of South Africa

Anirban Lahiri (Ind) – First round 66 (-5)

Over the years, my game has sort of moulded to the golf course. I’m happy with my round, minimized my mistakes and didn’t hit that many poor shots. Could have had a few more wedges closer but I’m pretty happy with the way I played overall.

There was a lot of rust last Thursday, unfortunately it took one round which made a big difference. You replace that 75 with a 68 and I’m in the top-five. Having said that, I have some tournament practice now under my belt. I’ve been playing golf every day now for 10 days which is more than I can say in the past five weeks preceding to Jakarta.

My shoulder is beginning to heal and the nerves are settling down. I’m happy and I’m definitely in a better place physically. When I get to this golf course, I’m in a good place mentally.

It was important for me to get out and push myself a little bit. It was probably a good decision for me to come back out to Asia, play familiar courses and play in more comfortable environments after the injury. It’s like a soft start for me and I think that helps because next week onwards, I start my main season on the PGA Tour which is the bigger focus. There’s a lot to do this week and hopefully I can keep my head down and keep playing solid.

There’s 54 holes to go. You just don’t know what will happen. You have to respect the course, keep the ball in play and keep making those six or seven footers and take your opportunities. You try to put a score together and not worry where the field is at. If I can keep my head down and keep playing well, hopefully I’ll be within a shot on Sunday.

Marcus Fraser (Aus) – First round 66 (-5)

Luckily enough to make eagle on 18 which was my front nine. Hit it to eight feet with a three wood and out of no where, the one on seven went in and hit the flag on the eighth. It’s a pretty colourful scorecard, that’s for sure.

I felt like I played fairly decent last week, there were some good signs. Today was nice to make plenty of birdies and a couple of eagles. Just a couple of sloppy bogeys in there which is no excuse for those. Hopefully I’ll tidy that up and more birdies in the next few days.

My back went into a spasm when we were about to go off from the 10th tee. The physio came out to the 11th tee and I took some pain killers and stuff. Hopefully I’ll be able to get it sorted as it wasn’t feeling too good. Hopefully I’ll get it sorted.

You don’t really think about the Order of Merit. Scott (Hend) is ahead and you’ll need a really good week to catch him or pass him. Hopefully I can just go out there to do what I’ve been doing and keep making birdies. Just need to put in the good rounds which will sort itself out. What will be will be.

18 – good drive and 245m with three wood to eight feet.

7 – 58m to pin and luckily enough to go in.

8 – had 78m to hole and almost went in again, hit the flag and bounced out. Very eventful day.

Winds were tricky with the crossbreeze holes. I really enjoy the golf course and it really suits me. I feel really comfortable out here.

Miguel Tabuena of Philippines Miguel Tabuena of Philippines

Miguel Tabuena – First round 67 (-4)

Played really solid the past few weeks and been putting solid. I guess I just have to remind myself that golf is a not sprint but a marathon. We have a few more days and I’m happy where I am.

My mum and girlfriend are here so it’s a special week. I turned 22 today but I already feel like a veteran on the Asian Tour. I’ve been here for six years and all the hard work is paying off from the days when I was still an amateur and turning pro in 2011. It’s a good feeling to shoot red numbers on your birthday.

It helps to play with world class golfers like Marcus and Gaganjeet. I learn so much from them. They are two nice people and it was just fun to watch and fun to play with and go back and forth with birdies.

I had a brain lapse on eight which was a straight forward hole. Pulled a two iron left and just made bogey from 99 yards. I just told myself I was playing solid and it was a matter of time and finished strong with a birdie on nine. Told myself I had to trust the club as I used the two iron again and nearly holed the approach.

The biggest thing I learned I learned the past few months and weeks, I would get ahead of myself. Always have to remind myself that there are four days of golf to play.