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Friday, 19 March 2010

To the naked eye, there is not much similarity between the physical elements of golf and Aussie Rules Football but Marcus Fraser put any psychological similarities to good use at Laguna National Golf & Country Club to move into a share of the first round lead in the Clariden Leu Singapore Masters alongside China’s Liang Wen-chong.

Both carded flawless eight under par 64s on the less demanding Classic Course to hold a one shot lead – in the co-sanctioned tournament between The European Tour and the Asian Tour – over Fraser’s fellow European Tour Member Jyoti Randhawa of India, Scotland’s Barry Hume and Shingo Katayama of Japan.

But no-one was more surprised at his lofty position than Fraser himself who, since the turn of the year, had only seen weekend action once in five tournaments and that was when he finished a lowly 41st in Indonesia.

However, the 28 year old Australian, who finished 65th on the Order of Merit in 2006, revealed a chat with one of his best friends, Aussie Rules Football star Jeff White, had helped him to develop a stronger mental attitude to his golf game.

“When I spoke to Jeff, he actually gave me a couple of things to try. Obviously they are two completely different sports but he told me a couple of the things he thinks about and uses when he is playing football and it is surprising how similar they are mentally even though the sports are totally different,” said Fraser.

“I just haven’t got off to good starts in tournaments and have given myself such a hard time on the golf course that it comes around and bites you. That is one of the things I talked to my mate back home about.

“I thought I played pretty well last week but just didn’t get much out of it, but I will try to do the same thing this week and hopefully I can get the same result as today for the rest of the week. It feels like I have definitely turned the corner.”

The evidence was certainly there in a flawless round which featured eight birdies in total, the highlight of which was a chip in at the 18th from 40 feet for a superb three on a 470 yard hole where many players succumbed to a bogey five.

It helped move Fraser alongside Liang, who had held the lead on his own for the majority of the day after he too carded eight birdies around the Classic Course, the majority of the Chinese player’s good work being done in a stunning spell on the back nine where he rattled in five birdies in six holes from the tenth.

Both players’ scores would have represented a new course record on the secondary course in use in this year’s tournament, but that was negated from the record books by the fact that preferred lies were in operation. However, Liang was not complaining.

“I played well on the front nine and carried that momentum into the back nine,” he said. “I find the Classic Course a lot easier than the Masters Course, which is why I was a bit more aggressive.”

That feeling was borne out by the scoring, which showed that only five players in the top 32 on the leaderboard completed their first rounds on the Masters Course. All players swap courses for the second round on Friday before the cut is made, with the top 65 players and those tied for 65th place completing the final two rounds over the Masters Course at the weekend.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
T1STEEL, IainMAS18-11
T1LIANG, Wen-chongCHN18-11
3DYSON, SimonENG18-10
T4LYNN, DavidENG18-9
T4DOUGHERTY, NickENG18-9
T4VAN DE VELDE, JeanFRA18-9
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