Gavin Green (R) of Malaysia shakes hands with playing partner Matthew Griffin of Australia after completing the first round of the WGC-HSBC Champions at the Sheshan International golf club in Shanghai on October 26, 2017. AFP Photo

Golfer Gavin gets his groove back at WGC-HSBC in Shanghai

KUALA LUMPUR: Following two substandard outings this month, Gavin Green recovered his form after finishing in tied second in the opening round of the World Golf Championships (WGC)-HSBC in Shanghai, yesterday.

Gavin, who is making his WGC debut, fired a bogeyless round of seven-under-par 65 for seven-birdies as he shared his space with Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

“It’s my first time here and my first WGC event. I’m enjoying the opportunity and just trying to play some good golf. I got out today and just got going, enjoying my golf,” said the 23-year-old.

“When I was out of position, I put it back in play and wedged it close and made a putt. I hope to keep that going.”

The current leader on the Asian Tour Order of Merit struggled with his short game to see him finish in tied 61st at the CIMB Classic on home soil and joint 67th at last week’s CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges in South Korea.

“Obviously, looking back at the last two weeks, it felt like I’ve been trying to maybe step on it a little bit more than I should. I’ve been trying to push for it and obviously it did not come out the way I wanted to,” said Gavin, who won the 2017 Taiwan Masters.

“So, I’m taking a different approach this time. I’m just enjoying my first WGC with dad (Gary) on the bag and sticking to the game plan.”

Gavin and Kiradech are only one stroke shy of Brooks Koepka’s eight-under-par 64.

The 2017 US Open victor made an eagle on the 18th, a bogey on the third and seven-birdies along the way at the US$9.75 million (RM41.3 million) tournament.

“I thought I played really well. Anytime you’re making putts and you’re keeping it in the fairway, you’re going to shoot good. I felt like I played really well.

“I drove it pretty well and putted extremely well, except for one little hiccup. Game feels good and I’m excited to start the season.”

Koepka, who is currently 10th on the FedExCup rank, will be looking to gain the 550 points on offer at Sheshan International Golf Club to improve his position.

Meanwhile, defending champion Matsuyama Hideki did not have the best outing after he tripled the third hole with a side of two-bogeys, countered by only three-birdies to close on two-over 74 and shared 67th with four others.

Keywords: Golf, Gavin Green, World Golf Championships (WGC)-HSBC, Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Asian Tour Order of Merit

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