Slow starter Fernandez-Castano still in contention

1/18/2013 2:33:00 PM
Gonzalo Fernadez-Castano  (Getty Images)
Gonzalo Fernadez-Castano (Getty Images)
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño has an unusual strategy for success at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship this week – bogeying the first hole.

The Spaniard has dropped shots on the opening hole en route to rounds of 70 and 67 at Abu Dhabi Golf Club so far, and his seven under halfway total leaves him just one behind leader Justin Rose.

Those early blemishes represent the World Number 33’s only dropped shots this week, and six birdies followed in Fernandez-Castaño’s best-of-the-day second round 67, which was full of the 32 year old’s trademark superlative iron play.

“I’m very happy because it seems like everything is flowing these last couple of days,” he said. “Both days I started with a bogey at the first, so apparently that's what I have to do tomorrow to make the birdies come. 

“I finished in the top 20 last year, so hopefully I can improve my result from 2012. 

“The more you play a course, the more you learn about it. I guess just having played the week before at the Volvo Golf Champions; I think that helps a lot. It's not the same playing a tough course like this the first week of the year; you warm up last week pretty much and now you are ready to go.”

Last week’s appearance in South Africa limited Fernandez-Castaño’s winter break, but the six-time European Tour winner is adamant that he is well prepared for the season ahead.

“It was short,” he added. “It's always short but it's good to be back. We can't complain; we are guys doing what we like traveling all around the world. Of course sometimes you need a bit of rest but I'm really happy to be started 2013. 

“I didn't have time to change anything; there wasn't time enough, but I would like to take a few weeks off after Qatar just to work a bit in the gym and that's it. I think the swing is all right - of course it can be improved, but I'm not going to complain too much.”