Stenson rebounds in Qatar
BY Bruce Young | European PGA Tour | 2009 Qatar Masters | Round One | 23 Jan 2009
Henrik Stenson, whose record at the Doha Golf Club speaks for itself (he has been a previous winner and runner up) today bounced back from a horror week in Abu Dhabi last week to share the lead after the first round of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.
Against arguably the strongest field in the history of the event, Stenson put behind him the missed cut last week where, amongst other things, he hit the wrong ball, to open with a round of 66 and lead the US$2.5 million event along with previous winner Andrew Coltart and Miguel Angel Jimenez.
Stenson was out in the morning field while Jimenez and Coltart played later in the day. Coltart, who won the inaugural staging of this event in 1998 just a week after securing the Australasian Order of Merit title, has battled with his game over the last few seasons but back on a golf course which he clearly enjoys he has started well. The highlight of the Scot’s round was an eagle 2 at the driveable par four 16th hole.
So tough have Coltart’s struggles been of late that he was forced to return to the Tour School last November but he was able to finish 14th and is back on the European Tour.
The best of the Australasians was a resurgent Brett Rumford back on the European Tour in 2009 after an unsuccessful season on the USPGA Tour. This time twelve months ago, Rumford was making an encouraging start to his USPGA Tour career when 8th at the Bob Hope Classic but there would be no further top ten and he eventually lost his PGA Tour status.
Still with European Tour rights as a result of his Omega European Masters victory in 2007, Rumford is back to play where he clearly feels more comfortable and his opening round of 67 follows a solid 20th place in Abu Dhabi last week.
Aaron Baddeley, showing the benefit of his first tournament in three months when finishing midfield last week in Abu Dhabi, started well with 68, Rod Pampling 70, Mark Brown and Scott Strange 72, Richard Green and defending champion Adam Scott 73, while Michael Campbell again succumbed to his shoulder injury and withdrew.
Campbell withdrew from last week’s Abu Dhabi Championship and although is still thinking about the possibility of playing in Dubai the chances are he will need a lengthy break to heal the injury properly.
Adam Scott’s clubs went missing in transit from Hawaii earlier in the week and they only arrived on Wednesday evening.