Hole-in-one helps Pep­per­all into share of lead

Western Daily Press - - Football -

A SPEC­TAC­U­LAR hole-in-one helped Ed­die Pep­perell claim a share of the lead with Ry­der Cup star Tommy Fleet­wood and Matt Wal­lace af­ter the open­ing round of the £3m Bri­tish Masters, writes Phil Casey.

While tour­na­ment host Justin Rose strug­gled to an open­ing 74 at Wal­ton Heath, his fel­low English­men over­came dif­fi­cult windy con­di­tions to end the day on top of the leader­board on five un­der par.

The first hole-in-one of Pep­perell’s Eu­ro­pean Tour ca­reer came in re­mark­able fash­ion, his five-iron from 172 yards on the ninth seem­ing to hit the bot­tom of the flag, bounce high in the air and away from the hole be­fore spin­ning into the cup.

Pep­perell was not done there and a birdie on the tenth and ea­gle on the 11th meant he had cov­ered a three-hole stretch in five un­der par be­fore bo­geys on the 13th and 15th were fol­lowed by a clos­ing birdie.

“It was a bizarre shot from where I was stand­ing,” Pep­perell said. “It looked like it pitched in the hole, jumped up and looked like it was go­ing long be­cause of the height it came out and ob­vi­ously went in. I played aw­ful in the pro-am on Wed­nes­day, prob­a­bly the worst I have in a while, and I wouldn’t say I played great to­day, but had that hot run and it’s great to be at the top with Matt and Tommy.”

Fleet­wood’s own round was not with­out in­ci­dent, with his only bo­gey of the day com­ing af­ter an er­rant tee shot on the par-three 17th fin­ished in a cup holder in a buggy which had been parked to the left of the green.

“I’m still not sure how it got there,” said Fleet­wood, who outscored play­ing part­ner, Ry­der Cup team-mate and Race to Dubai ri­val Francesco Moli­nari by six shots.

“Luck­ily it didn’t go in the beer in the other cup holder be­cause it would have ru­ined a drink and the golf ball. It wasn’t a great shot, but bo­gey was fine. It’s not some­thing you get too an­gry about to­day.

“I do have quite a good mind­set at the mo­ment. I’m by no means the fresh­est I’ve ever been, but it’s a case of try­ing to be easy on your­self.”

Wal­lace had set the club­house tar­get ear­lier in the day as he seeks a fifth win in his 50th Eu­ro­pean Tour start and fourth vic­tory of a sea­son.

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