James Morrison (Getty Images)
James Morrison and Edoardo Molinari returned to form in spectacular style to lead after the first round of the Barclays Singapore Open.
With only three top-ten finishes between them all season, the pair both carded nine under par rounds of 62 on the Tanjong Course at Sentosa Golf Club to lead former US PGA Championship winner Y E Yang by one.
Ryder Cup star Molinari, who has not had a top-ten finish since coming eighth in Bahrain back in January, carded ten birdies including a fantastic approach to the last with one bogey.
Last year’s Madeira Islands Open winner Morrison joined him in the lead courtesy of a run of four consecutive birdies from the tenth – he still had a chance of The European Tour’s first 59 at that stage, before a bogey at the 16th ended his hopes.
Molinari, who won twice last year to earn selection for the European Team at The Celtic Manor Resort, put his improved showing down to a better putting display.
“The putting was finally excellent out there today which is probably the first good round of putting that I have had in a while,” said the 30 year old.
“I have been working on the same things, but I had a really good session on the putting green on Tuesday afternoon and I was just trying to work on the same feelings out on the course and today it was very good.
“I probably had 25 or 26 putts today but the most important thing was that I holed everything inside ten feet which is what you have to do on this course, because it is very short and important to make a good score here.
“I usually struggle on Bermuda greens but this is a little different this week because the greens are not so grainy so I really like putting in these greens.
“It was a very good round of golf. I would have been happy with five or six under at the start of the day so I am very happy with it.”
Morrison, whose fine approach to the 15th left him needing three closing birdies for a 59 only to miss the green at the par three next, said: “It is a tough day out on the golf course when one is hard and one is a little bit easy.
“You always try and chase from the start. I stayed patient and played great all the way around and holed a few putts.”
World Number 42 Yang eagled the sixth from 15 feet and had six birdies in a blemish-free round, but the Korean was quick to point out that the more difficult Serapong Course awaits the leading trio on Friday.
“Tomorrow and the final rounds are going to be played on a different course (The Serapong) so it is going to be like a new tournament for me,” he said. I’m not thinking of the title just yet.”
Japan’s Daisuke Maruyama is fourth on seven under, while South African Jbe Kruger had the best round of the day on the Serapong layout to sit six under alongside Sung Lee, Athaphon Prathumanee and Rahil Gangjee.