Thursday, 07 June 2018
Day 1 Highlights - Shot Clock Masters

Oscar Lengden fired an excellent 66 to lead the way as day one of the Shot Clock Masters proved to be an enormous success at Diamond Country Club.

The European Tour was once again breaking new ground, with every player in the field on the clock for every shot as part of the Tour's bid to combat slow play.

Over a 72-hole stroke play this week, the players have a 50-second allowance for a first to play approach shot (including a par three tee-shot), chip or putt and a 40-second allowance for a tee-shot on a par four or par five, or second or third to play approach shot, chip or putt.

Failure to make your shot in the allotted time leads to a one-shot penalty on the hole in question but players are allowed two 40-second time-extensions in any one round.

At the end of play on Thursday, not one player in the field had registered a time penalty, with five three-balls getting round the testing layout just outside Vienna in less than four hours.

Swede Lengden led the way at six under, a shot ahead of countryman Peter Hanson, evergreen Spaniard Miguel Ángel Jiménez and Finn Tapio Pulkkanen.

Danish duo Anders Hansen and Jeppe Pape Huldahl, Scottish pair Bradley Neil and Connor Syme, Finn Mikko Korhonen and South African Justin Walters were then at four under.

Lengden already has a win on the Challenge Tour under his belt this season and was delighted to bring his good form to Austria.

"It was great, it was fun to be out there again, I know my swing pretty well now and coming from a good week last week in Switzerland as well it was just fun playing today," he said.

"The key is that I know where my ball is going. Overall I feel in control of my swing so that’s probably the key at the moment. If I just keep my mind in the right state I think it will be a great week.

"On the tenth, I actually took a lot of time, I think I had four seconds left or something, but I think this kind of system fits me well. I’m a quick player, I like playing quick, I dislike waiting. For me it feels great out there."

It was a nip-and-tuck morning, with as many as 11 players sharing the lead at one point once play was under way but when Lengden broke out of a seven-strong group at four under, he never looked back.

He birdied the tenth, 13th, 15th and first and a wonderful approach into the fourth edged him into the solo lead.

Pulkkanen joined him but he took the scenic route, birdieing the first, third and fourth before bogeying the eighth and birdieing the 12th. A double-bogey on the 14th looked set to derail him but he remarkably made back-to-back eagles on the par five 15th and 16th to join the lead.

A birdie from Lengden then edged the 26 year old back ahead on his own.

In the afternoon,  Jiménez turned in level par with two birdies and two bogeys but he put on a short-game masterclass as he came home in 31.

The 54 year old birdied the 11th and 13th and put his approaches on the 15th and 16th - and tee-shot on the par three last - inside ten feet to surge up the leaderboard.

Hanson has struggled with injury in recent years and after making his first cut of the season at last week's Italian Open, he brought that form to Atzenbrugg.

The two-time Ryder Cup player was a picture of consistency, making birdies on the first, third, sixth, seventh, tenth and 16th along with a single blemish on the fifth.

Walters had an eagle and a double-bogey in his 68, while Korhonen and Neil both got round bogey-free. Hansen and Syme both had two blemishes on the card, with Huldahl recording just one.

There was a large group at three under including former champions Mikael Lundberg and Wu Ashun, four-time European Tour winner Søren Kjeldsen and local favourites Matthias Schwab and Sepp Straka.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1KORHONEN, MikkoFIN18-16
2SYME, ConnorSCO18-10
T3WALTERS, JustinRSA18-9

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