Santos takes charge in Doha
23 Jan 2013 - 12:16:52
Portugal's Ricardo Santos set the pace among early starters Wednesday, firing a seven-under par 65 to take a one-shot clubhouse lead at the 2.5 million dollar Qatar Masters.
The 2012 Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year carried his fine form from the Abu Dhabi Golf Championships -- where he had finished fourth -- to the Doha Golf Club to set himself up nicely in calm conditions predicted for the tournament.
Anthony Wall of England and Scot Peter Whiteford were a shot behind after shooting a 66 each while Aussie Brett Rumford and the English pair of Andy Sullivan and Chris Wood were a further shot down on 67.
Santos, who last year created a sensation in Portugal by becoming the first player from his country to win the Madiera Islands Open began with a bang, shooting eight birdies, a bogey on the 11th hole somewhat blighting his round.
The 30-year-old was simply brilliant on the long holes, picking up birdies on the 591-yard first and the 639-yard ninth to put himself in contention for a decent finish if not the title on Saturday.
Former winners Paul Lawrie of Scotland, Dane Thomas Bjorn and South African Ernie Els could just manage par in the opening round, while Retief Goosen, another former champion, fared even worse, shooting a 74.