Lo­cal guide leads Schoeb to first place

The Herald - Herald Sport - - GOLF -

IT was a score that stood out like a sore thumb and one achieved with a sore wrist. You’ll not be sur­prised to learn that Gre­goire Schoeb’s as­ton­ish­ing 11-un­der 60 over the New Course yes­ter­day gave him a healthy lead on day one of the St An­drews Links Tro­phy, writes Nick Rodger.

Given that he had never played the course be­fore, Schoeb hired the ser­vices of a lo­cal cad­die to help him ne­go­ti­ate his way around its var­i­ous nooks and cran­nies. The al­liance with the canny bag­man known sim­ply as ‘Jim’ reaped a hand­some re­ward as the 21-year-old French­man pieced to­gether a su­perbly as­sem­bled card that be­gan with a birdie-ea­gle-birdie blitz on the first three holes and was con­cluded with a run of four straight birdies from the 15th.

“I love the guy now,” said a smil­ing Schoeb af­ter a rous­ing round which shaved four shots off the pre­vi­ous course record of 64 set by Nigel Ed­wards in 2006.

Ice­land’s Orn Hjar­tar­son also blasted a 60 in the 1998 Links Tro­phy al­though the New Course has been tweaked and length­ened since then. Schoeb brought it to its knees yes­ter­day. He holed his se­cond shot from 100 yards at the se­cond, notched an­other ea­gle on the par-5 eighth and then trun­dled in birdie putts of 30-feet, 55-feet and 25-feet at the 16th, 17th and 18th to fin­ish with a flour­ish.

“It’s my best score any­where by five shots,” said the man from Metz, who has been both­ered by a nig­gling wrist in­jury and ad­mit­ted that this could be his last event of the sea­son should surgery be re­quired.

Fed­erico Zuc­chetti, a 6ft 5ins Ital­ian, got him­self in on the low scor­ing spree and reeled off seven birdies in a 64 that left him cling­ing to the coat tails of Schoeb. He was joined in a share of se­cond by Ge­off Drake­ford of Aus­tralia, while Cawder’s Jamie Sav­age, the reign­ing Ir­ish Open Stroke­play cham­pion, opened with a pur­pose­ful 65.

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