Montgomerie and Forsyth play catch-up at World Cup
SCOTLAND'S defence of the World Cup got off to a slow start yesterday as the pairing of Colin Montgomerie and Alastair Forsyth finished the opening day at Mission Hills on four-under-par 68, six shots off the pace set by German duo Martin Kaymer and Alex Cejka on 62.
The day began promisingly as the defending champions, who were in the last group to tee off, were three under through nine with Montgomerie and Forsyth carding two and one birdies respectively, but with Germany picking up further birdies the Scottish pair were unable to keep pace.
Australia are in second place at nine-under after Brendan Jones and Richard Green combined to card a 63, with Spain, the United States and Canada tied on eight- under 64.
In Kaymer Germany have perhaps one of the most determined golfers in the field this week, given the 23-year-old is keen to turn the disappointment of narrowly missing out on a Ryder Cup debut earlier this year into a positive by winning the World Cup for his country.
The highly rated Kaymer enjoyed a superb second season on the European Tour in 2008, securing victories at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship and BMW International Open.
However, he fell just short of making the European Ryder Cup team as he finished tenth on the European points list to leave him one spot behind Oliver Wilson, with the Englishman taking the last automatic berth.
But Kaymer still travelled with the European team after captain Nick Faldo decided to take the young German as a guest in order to experience the Ryder Cup first hand.
Kaymer yesterday combined with playing partner Alex Cejka for a 62 in the first-round fourballs.
Play switches to foursomes format today before alternating again in the final two rounds – and Kaymer is keen to use what he has learned from the Ryder Cup and help lead his country to a first World Cup trophy since Bernhard Langer and Marcel Siem triumphed in 2006.
"I learned a lot of things at the Ryder Cup," said Kaymer. "It was a different format there.
"That was matchplay, and here it's strokeplay, and you can be aggressive in the best-ball, what we played today.
"But tomorrow is going to be different. I think every team event is different, and the Ryder Cup helped me in many ways.
"But it's very, very tough to say now what was the most important thing I learned or which helped me so much that we played well today."
Kaymer was in fine form from the first hole at a blustery Mission Hills Golf Club and reeled off three successive birdies before Cejka added another on the par-four fourth. Kaymer then shot a superb eagle 3 on the seventh, holing a putt from more than 65 feet before he picked up another shot on the ninth to ensure Germany reached the turn at seven under.
The 2007 European Tour Rookie of the Year added another two birdies coming home while Cejka weighed in with one more to ensure Germany hold a slender one-stroke advantage over Australia.
"We had a really good start today," added Kaymer. "We were seven-under after nine holes, and we kept playing well on the back nine and finished ten-under.
"It was a little bit tougher than last year, but I think we can be happy with ten-under."
A double-bogey on the last saw Ireland drop from second to tied sixth at seven under. Despite the disappointing end to the day, Graeme McDowell believes the leaderboard will not properly take shape until after today's foursomes round.
"I think in better-ball format, no one is really able to run away with it," said McDowell, who is representing Ireland alongside Paul McGinley.
"Foursomes is the key. We need to get out there tomorrow, play as solidly as we played today, knock it around a few under par, and keep ourselves well in the tournament."
England's Ian Poulter and Ross Fisher are seven behind after a 69, while Denmark, Sweden and New Zealand are tied with Ireland on 65.
62: Germany (Cejka/Kaymer)
63: Australia (Green/Jones)
64: United States (Curtis/Snedeker), Spain (Jimenez/Larrazabal), Canada (DeLaet/Heffernan)
65: Denmark (A Hansen/S Hansen), Sweden (Stenson/Karlsson), New Zealand (Brown/Smail), Ireland (McDowell/McGinley)
66: Japan (Imada/Taniguchi), Mexico (De Leon/Serna)
67: India (Singh/Randhawa), Phillipines (Pucay/Que), Chile (Aguilar/Tullo), Portugal (Cruz/Santos)
68: France (Havret/Bourdy), Korea (Bae Sang-moon/Kim Hyung-tae), Scotland (Montgomerie/Forsyth), Chinese Taipei (Wen-Tang/Wen-teh)
69: China (Liang Wen-Chong/Zhang Lian-Wei), Guatemala (Acuna/Villavicencio), Thailand (Jaidee/Marksaeng), Wales (Dredge/Johnson), Finland (Korhonen/Kakko), England (Poulter/Fisher)
70: South Africa (Sabbatini/Sterne), Italy (E Molinari/F Molinari F)
71: Venezuela (Martinez/Sanz)
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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