Friday, 14 October 2016
Anton Karlsson (credit Leckie Wong)  (European Tour)
Anton Karlsson (credit Leckie Wong) (European Tour)

Anton Karlsson shot a bogey-free round of 70 to share the lead after another day of heavy rain at the Hainan Open on the European Challenge Tour.

Further downpours this morning on the Chinese island meant play was suspended for three hours, with the Swede one of the morning starters who was able to complete 18 holes over two days.

The 23 year old, who currently sits in 49th place in the Road to Oman Rankings, maintained his focus between the stoppages to make two birdies and sit at the summit of the leaderboard with France’s  Clément Sordet and China’s He Ze-yu on two under par.

And the Challenge Tour rookie is hoping he can continue to battle the elements and record a high finish to secure his place at the NBO Golf Classic Grand Final in Oman next month.

“It has been a very long two days and I am really glad to finish my first round,” he said. “It has been tough playing in the rain and in the wind, which is what is keeping the scoring high. I am really happy with my performance.

“To keep concentrating in those conditions is a really tough thing to do and I think I managed it really well. I had a good plan out there on the course – I just made sure that I hit a lot of greens. The main thing is that I didn’t make any bogeys out there which I don’t think many others will manage in those conditions.

“We haven’t been playing in too much rain, the course has been playing very soft, so it is really the wind that is the toughest thing out there. You really need to find your direction before hitting most shots.

“We will have to see when we play again, and I think the uncertainty will be a factor in my game plan. I will just try to stay consistent and if I have another round like I did today I will be thrilled.

“Obviously this week is a very important one for me, and my aim is to definitely get into the final in Oman. I am close to the top 45, the next step is the top 15 – which would be a couple of good results away. If I play like I did today I am confident of getting into that top 45.”Sanya rain

Play was suspended for the day in Sanya at 4pm, with players due to restart their first rounds at 8am on Saturday morning.

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