Sat, Aug 27, 2011 - Page 18 News List

Foster sets stinging pace despite Gleneagles wasps

AFP, GLENEAGLES, Scotland

England’s Mark Foster ignored the threat of being stung to set the pace in the first round of the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles with a six-under-par 66 on Thursday.

Although his only European Tour victory was eight years ago, Foster’s season is shaping up to be easily his best yet and not even a problem with wasps and bees could prevent him from making a flying start.

Foster is one shot clear of Spain’s Ignacio Garrido and Argentina’s Tano Goya.

Garrido and Goya were tied in second place at five-under par, although several players were still to finish the fog-delayed opening round.

However, it was the possibility of being stung by the numerous wasps and bees that plagued the Scottish course that posed the greatest danger.

“I remember having to make a birdie putt with a wasp on the ball,” Foster said.

“It’s going to come off when you hit it and I just felt in a good place, so I hit the putt,” he added.

The former English amateur champion had two more birdies on the front nine. However, there were two bogeys as well, which allowed Garrido to close the gap.

Play began 160 minutes later than planned — and that meant the first round spilled into a second day.

Among the later starters were former European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie and his successor Jose Maria Olazabal. After eight holes they were both one-under, although Scotsman Montgomerie had been three-under after a birdie at the first and then an eagle on the long second.

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