Birthday boy Ernie Els of South Africa struck a par-71 to lie three shots behind the leaders after the first round of the Venetian Macau Open yesterday.
The Big Easy found himself four-over through his opening seven holes, but later hit four birdies to make his birthday cake taste sweeter.
Australia’s Scott Barr shared the lead in the US$800,000 Asia Tour tournament with Ben Campbell of New Zealand and Finland’s Kalle Samooja.
Barr, 41, produced a measured performance at the Macau Golf and Country Club, shooting four birdies against a lone bogey to set the early pace while Campbell shot the tournament’s first hole-in-one.
Els, who turned 44, said after the day’s play: “I have to be happy with that. It was a tough start. It’s still blowing now.”
“I started hitting some nice shots, made a little adjustment with my putter and made some three or four footers. All in all, it’s not a bad day,” he said. “It’s a demanding course. When you’re off, you’re going to make big numbers.”
“I always love coming here. It’s a wonderful place in the world to come play golf. I’ve seen the [Asian] Tour grow nicely and there are so many great players now,” Els said. “Golf is such an exciting sport in Asia and you just want to be part of it.”
Taiwan’s Hung Chien-yao, Lu Wei-chih, Chan Yih-shin and Lu Wen-teh were among a group of players tied for 10th on 1-under, while compatriot Tsai Chi-huang was level with Els in joint-22nd.
Additional reporting by staff writer
Peter Hedblom made a solid start in the quest to retain his European Tour card for next season by taking a share of the lead after the first round of the co-sanctioned Perth International yesterday.
The 43-year-old Swede is currently languishing in 179th spot in the Race to Dubai and needs to win the tournament to climb into the top 110 and avoid going back to Qualifying School.
Hedblom, who has three tour wins, carded a four-under-par 68 to form part of a four-man group at the top of the leaderboard with South Korea’s Jin Jeong and Australian duo James Nitties and Clint Rice.
“It was an interesting day. The game didn’t feel that good, but I kept the ball in the fairways,” Hedblom told reporters after mixing six birdies with two bogeys at the Lake Karrinyup Country Club.
A businessman who received millions of dollars for his work on Tokyo’s successful campaign to host the 2020 Olympic Games has said that he played a key role in securing the support of a former Olympics powerbroker suspected by French prosecutors of taking bribes to help Japan’s bid. Haruyuki Takahashi, a former executive at the advertising agency Dentsu, was paid US$8.2 million by the committee that spearheaded Tokyo’s bid for the 2020 Games, financial records showed. Takahashi said the work included lobbying International Olympic Committee (IOC) members such as Lamine Diack, the ex-Olympics powerbroker, and that he gave Diack gifts, including digital
BITING THE BULLET: Barcelona’s Lionel Messi said that top players would make contributions so that the club’s employees can collect 100 percent of their salary Three-quarters of Rugby Australia’s staff were temporarily laid off yesterday amid huge financial losses from the sport’s coronavirus-enforced shutdown, while Lionel Messi confirmed on Monday that Barcelona’s players would take a 70 percent pay cut to ensure that the club’s other employees are paid. The cuts to rugby staff were “the toughest decision in the game’s history,” governing body CEO Raelene Castle said. “Although extremely painful, they are necessary to ensure ... we are able to come out the other side of this global crisis, fully operational and ready to throw everything into the rebuild.” The sport has been hit hard by
DECREASED TENSION: The US players’ lawyers said that the soccer federation no longer disputes that the jobs of the women’s and men’s national teams require equal skill Women players suing the US Soccer Federation (USSF) said in in court documents filed on Tuesday that the federation has acknowledged that the jobs of male and female soccer players require equal skill. The language seemed to signal a decrease in tension between the parties after language in documents filed by the federation’s lawyers earlier last month provoked widespread outrage in saying that playing on the men’s national team required a higher level of skill based on speed and strength and carried greater responsibility. The fierce backlash — not only from the women players, but also from sponsors such as Coca-Cola —
If British industry succeeds in saving lives during the COVID-19 pandemic, it would in part be thanks to the pioneering role played by Formula One (F1) racing teams in the country. Seven of F1’s 10 teams have joined forces with leading aerospace and engineering firms to ramp up production of ventilators, while Mercedes has also worked with medics and academics to produce an alternative breathing aid. Normally obsessed with improving the performance of cars that race at more than 320kph, the teams are stripping back lifesaving devices and using computer simulation to test whether more simplified models can be mass produced. The seven