Fernandez goes birdie crazy in Bad Ragaz

01/07/2011 15:57:44
Angel Fernandez   (Getty Images)
Angel Fernandez (Getty Images)

Angel Fernandez blitzed into the lead in the Bad Ragaz PGA Seniors Open with a nine under par 61 in the first round.

The Chilean had seven birdies and two pars on the front nine, then picked up two more shots after the turn, meaning he equalled the course record set by Juan Quiros in 2006 and matched by Carl Mason in 2008.

He leads by three from Austrian Claude Grenier and Scot Andrew Oldcorn, while four players are another shot back at five under par.

“Nine birdies and nine pars, so it was a pretty good day,” said Fernandez, who was runner-up in the Berenberg Bank Masters a fortnight ago. “I was surprised how many putts went in.

“It was very nice golf and a good way to start a tournament. The weather was okay and I was lucky the rain only started once I’d finished. Now I just have to continue this kind of form to stay in front.”

Grenier had a run of three birdies from the second hole, and picked up another shot at the eighth having bogeyed the par four seventh. More birdies followed at the tenth, 12th and 15th to establish an early clubhouse lead before Fernandez surged ahead.

“I played very solid from tee to green,” said Grenier, who has recently taken up Affiliate Membership of the Senior Tour. “I putted very nicely and didn’t make many mistakes – and the mistakes I did make I was able to recover from well.

“I only had 24 putts and I’m just enjoying it while it lasts. Tomorrow is another day.

“I’m usually a club pro in Austria, at a club just south of Vienna, so it’s a nice change to be playing a tournament.”

Mason, who has taken the title three times in the past four seasons, was forced to withdraw with a back injury.