McArthur off to a flier at Kensville

1/31/2013 9:24:28 AM
Andrew McArthur ( ()
Andrew McArthur ( ()
Five birdies in the opening six holes gave Andrew McArthur a flying start to the 2013 European Challenge Tour season as the Scotsman held the clubhouse lead midway through the opening day of the Gujarat Kensville Challenge.

McArthur, who finished 45th in the Challenge Tour Rankings last year, had been working hard on his putting during the winter break and right from the off his putter was on fire, holing a thirty footer at the 10th – his first – for birdie.

He followed that up by rolling a 12 footer into the cup on the 12th before another 30 footer from the back fringe at the 13th dropped and two more birdies at the 14th and 15th holes meant he roared into an early lead at the sun-kissed Kensville Golf and Country Club, outside Ahmedabad in western India.

That run was followed by a bogey at the 15th but three more birdies on the back nine helped the one-time Challenge Tour winner to a five under score of 67 to take a one shot lead over compatriot Wallace Booth and Frenchman Victor Riu.

“I just got off to a flyer and before I knew it I was five under after six,” said the 33 year old. “Then I started pulling a couple of iron shots but I bounced back with some decent shots as well and holed another couple of 15 footers but I didn’t hit it close all day.

“I have done a lot of work since the middle of last year on my putting. I was struggling and I went to (putting coach) Phil Kenyon for some help.

“It has made the world of difference in terms of my confidence. I know now why I've missed a putt whereas before I was guessing and chopping and changing with different putters every tournament but I have stuck with the same putter for four or five months and it’s working pretty alright at the moment!”

Booth was a shot further back alongside Frenchman Riu after they both carded four under par opening rounds of 68 while Andrea Pavan, who finished in second place in the 2011 Challenge Tour Rankings, was in tied third place alongside Sri Lankan Mithun Perera.