Scotland’s Gary Orr was a man in a hurry when he opened with a one under par 71 during the first round of the WGC-American Express Championship at Valderrama in southern Spain.
Due to the vagaries of the draw, Orr, winner of this year’s Algarve Portuguese Open and Victor Chandler British Masters, was ordered to go out first without a partner and and he used the opportunity to race round the treacherous Valderrama course in just under 2 hours and 45 minutes.
“It the first time that I have ever gone out alone but I’ve got to admit I enjoyed it,” Orr said moments after posting his score.
“I dropped a shot on the first simply because it all felt a bit strange but after that the only problem I had was to make sure I didn’t rush my shots.
“To be honest, I suspect most of the people in the field would quite happily swapped places with me.”
Orr’s 71, comprising four birdies and three bogeys, put him two shots behind early leaders Andrew Coltart and Franklin Langham.
Coltart, who like Orr was making his debut in the American Express event, made a blistering start with birdies at the 2nd, 4th and 6th holes to share the lead with American, Langham, who was also three under 13 holes into his round.
Three golfers, South Africa’s Nic Henning, America’s Scott Verplank and Australia’s Peter Senior, took advantage of the benign early conditions to move to two under par and several others, including Philip Price, Bernhard Langer and Paul McGinley were one under the card out on the course.
Langer is no stranger to success at Valderrama. He won the 1994 Volvo Masters and also holds the course record having recorded a 62 on the way to that success.