Six Share Qatar Lead

RSS

DOHA, Qatar -- Former Ryder Cupper Pierre Fulke shot a 4-under-par 68 on Thursday to share the opening-round lead of the Qatar Masters.
 
Matthew Blackey, Paul Broadhurst, Andrew Oldcorn, Nobuhito Sato and Martin Wiegele matched Fulke in the lead at Doha Golf Club.
 
Winds swirled Thursday at Doha but not nearly as badly as last year. The heavy winds in 2003 forced the first round to be suspended
 
Fulke, who amassed an 0-1-1 record for Sam Torrance at the Belfry in 2002, birdied the first hole, then added a birdie at No. 6 to make the turn at 2-under 34.
 
The Swede went birdie-bogey over his first two holes on the second nine, but tallied birdies at two of his final four holes to join the logjam in first place.
 
Blackey began his round on the 10th hole and recorded two birdies and a bogey over his first three holes, including a 20-foot birdie putt at the 10th and a plugged lie that resulted in bogey at 11.
 
He went on to make three birdies in a row, starting at the 15th, to mow through the first nine at 4 under par. The Englishman parred his last nine holes to stay atop the leaderboard.
 
Broadhurst made it through the first 15 holes at 1 under par, but polished off his round of 4-under 68 with three birdies in a row from 16.
 
Oldcorn, a three-time winner on the European Tour whose last trip to the winner's circle came at the 2001 Volvo PGA Championship, mixed five birdies and a bogey for his piece of first place.
 
'The key was to navigate my way round the course without making any serious mistakes,' said Oldcorn. 'Last week, I was very rusty but this is better. I worked hard over the weekend and I was more prepared to play today.'
 
Japan's Sato spread his first three birdies throughout his round. They came at one, six and 11, but dropped a shot to par at the 15th. He racked up consecutive birdies from the 16th for his 68.
 
Wiegele was the last of the six to get to 4 under and things did not look good after a bogey at the sixth, his 15th of the day. The Austrian, who has yet to make a 36-hole cut in the 2004 campaign, birdied the par-3 eighth to join the group in first.
 
'Last week I didn't play very well and changed some things in my swing and it felt good in practice,' said Wiegele, who graduated from the Challenge Tour last season. 'It went well today and the birdies came with my new found confidence. I didn't miss many putts from six to 10 feet.'
 
Ian Woosnam, Jarmo Sandelin, Brian Davis, Mark Foster, Peter Hanson, Rolf Muntz, Steven O'Hara and Terry Price share seventh place after opening rounds of 3-under-par 69.
 
Darren Fichardt, the 2003 winner of this event, opened his title defense with a 2-under-par 70 and is tied for 15th.
 
Related Links:
  • TGC Airtimes
  • Leaderboard - Qatar Masters
  • Full Coverage - Qatar Masters