Thursday, 22 April 2010
Mark Foster and Marcus Fraser  (Getty Images)
Mark Foster and Marcus Fraser (Getty Images)

Marcus Fraser's putter made a timely return to form as the Australian carded a bogey free seven under par 65 to post a one shot clubhouse lead at the end of the first day of the Ballantine's Championship.

Fraser, 31, failed to post a sub-70 round at last week's Volvo China Open but defied over six hours of weather delays to top the leaderboard.

The 2003 Russian Open winner was one ahead of Worksop's Mark Foster, with Ted Oh leading the local challenge at Pinx Golf Club a further shot back alongside Welshman Jamie Donaldson and Australia's Rick Kulacz.

But Donaldson and Kulacz, along with a third of the field, will have to complete their opening rounds on Friday.

And 66 players were unable to even tee-off, leaving the prospect of 36 holes on day two with more fog expected over the next two days.

"I felt like I played really well last week in China, but I didn't putt very well," said Fraser.

"It felt like it was very close and I felt like I practised really well at the start of the week, so I was sort of hoping for a good one to get going."

Fraser actually trailed playing partner Foster by one shot at the turn, with the highlight for the Australian a 35 foot birdie putt which kick-started a hat-trick of birdies around the turn.

Playing partner Foster matched that treble, before both added two birdies on the back nine.

But Fraser edged ahead when Foster blotted his scorecard with two bogeys en route to a six under 66.

"I am very pleased, added Fraser. "I feel like I drove it very well and putted really well. I gave myself a lot of chances on the greens and managed to make a few.

"The difference from last week was just basically the putter. I managed to make some putts instead of walking up and tapping them in, they managed to go in and it's a much better feeling than just sliding by the hole all the time."

Singapore-based Foster, like Fraser a one-time European Tour winner, showed glimpses of a return to form with a second round 64 in China last week after last posting a top ten in August 2008.

And the 2003 Dunhill Championship winner, who did finish last season with an 11th place at the UBS Hong Kong Open, looked on course to establish a healthy first round advantage with an early eagle boosting his cause.

But a wayward putter halted his charge on the back nine as temperatures dropped and the skies darkened.

"It was very frustrating coming off early as I was four under after six," he said. "But I was pleased with that more than anything, the way I kept restarting. Every time we went back out, I started well.

"I had to go back out there three times, so that was probably the most pleasing part of the day.

"I got going early and Marcus took over on the back nine and almost kept me going really. I couldn't hole any putts on the back nine so I dragged him along on the front and he seemed to drag me along on the back, so it worked well."

Oliver Fisher posted a fourth straight top ten finish last week after losing his card last year and continued a fine run of form with a bogey-free 68 leaving the Madeira Islands Open BPI: Portugal runner-up tied for sixth in a group alongside equally in-form duo Ernie Els and Anthony Kim.

Els, 40, took a week off after a top 20 finish at the Masters Tournament after an energy-sapping but rewarding run as the South African returned to the winners circle at the World Golf Championships-CA Championship and Arnold Palmer Invitational.

"I shot a 68 so happy to get done, it was a long day. We started this morning at seven and we finished at six, so it was a long day," said the World Number Seven, who finished fourth last year.

"It could have been a little better, but not a bad start, so I am looking forward to the rest of the week."

Kim, who finished sixth on Jeju island two years ago, followed up a third US PGA Tour title of his career at the Shell Houston Open with a third place finish at Augusta National and matched Fisher's flawless first round.

"I stayed patient and I'm happy with how I played, I just didn't score very well," said the 24 year old American Ryder Cup star.

 

 

Get Adobe Flash player

Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1FRASER, MarcusAUS18-12
T2MAYBIN, GarethNIR18-8
T2RUMFORD, BrettAUS18-8
T4NOH, Seung-yulKOR18-7
T4FISHER, OliverENG18-7
T6DONALDSON, JamieWAL18-6
R2D Fantasy

European Tour Partners

  • BMW
  • Emirates
  • UPS
  • Rolex
  • Rolex

European Tour Sponsors

  • Club Car

    Media Centre

    Official Partner

    Official Suppliers

    This website is © The PGA European Tour 1997 - 2014. PGA European Tour, Wentworth Drive, Virginia Water, Surrey, GU25 4LX. Registered in England No. 1867610.
    All rights reserved. No reproduction, distribution or transmission of any information, part or parts of this website by any means whatsoever is permitted without the prior written permission of the PGA European Tour.