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Thursday, 08 March 2018
Pablo Larrazábal  (Getty Images)
Pablo Larrazábal (Getty Images)

Pablo Larrazábal had a European Tour official and a courtesy car driver to thank after making a mad dash through the New Delhi traffic to shoot an opening 67 at the Hero Indian Open.

DLF Golf and Country Club is known as one of the toughest tests of the season but Larrazábal's task was made even greater on day one as his alarm did not go off, leaving him still in bed 38 minutes before his 07.00 tee-time.

A wake-up call from Tour official Dorothée Demoulins, a short shower and a car ride later he was stood on the tenth tee, but the fireworks were not over yet.

The Spaniard recovered from a double-bogey on the 15th to turn in 34 and then made five birdies in a row from the fourth to sign for a five under par round that is one of the performances of the season so far.

"My lovely new iPhone went back to Spanish time overnight and I woke up at the hotel 38 minutes before my tee-time," he said.

"Thanks to Dorothée, the secretary of the European Tour, who called me in my room and said 'Pablo, you're playing in 38 minutes, you must wake up and go to the tenth tee'.

"I woke up, had a ten-second shower and I ran and had courtesy car waiting for me. I arrived at the course 25 minutes before my tee-time.

"My heart was pumping big time, I was very nervous.

"I think the courtesy car made a world record from the hotel to the golf course in a couple of minutes, a ride that can take ten or 15 minutes, it was really wild.

"The adrenaline didn't help. After hitting ten balls on the range, I told my caddie that I had to stop because I was nervous.

"I normally take my time in the morning, I wake up three hours before, have my breakfast slowly to wake up.

"I was really, really sleepy, my heart didn't help at all. The tenth tee-shot is quite scary so I tried to thin one in the middle of the fairway and tried to keep it going and I think I drank 15 or 20 bottles of water just to try to calm down.

I think the courtesy car made a world record from the hotel to the golf course in a couple of minutes - Pablo Larrazábal

"Waking up this morning I didn't think i was going to make it. Delhi's traffic is quite tough. I got lucky that we didn't have traffic."

A round containing just six pars would not be recommended to slow a racing heart but nine birdies put Larrazábal - who has two top fives so far this season - in an excellent position for the rest of the week.

"I started with a birdie on 11 and then I four-putted 15, then birdied 16, 17 and 18 to shoot two under par on the back nine - that is very, very good," he said.

"Then a three-putt on the first but I kept playing good and birdied four to eight and then another three-putt on the ninth.

"One four-putt, two three-putts, nine birdies on this monster is quite unbelievable.

"This morning we're playing in the easiest conditions we can play but red numbers on this golf course is unbleievable. To start five under is very, very good."

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1WALLACE, MattENG18-11
2JOHNSTON, AndrewENG18-11
3KIM, SihwanUSA18-8
T4LARRAZÁBAL, PabloESP18-7
T4SCHWAB, MatthiasAUT18-7
6GRILLO, EmilianoARG18-5

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