Ewen Ferguson hits course record to hold four-shot lead at HANDA World Invitational

Scotland’s Ewen Ferguson carded a course-record nine under par 61 at Galgorm Castle Golf Club as he stormed into the lead after the first round of the ISPS HANDA World Invitational presented by AVIV Clinics.

Ewen Ferguson of Scotland celebrates as he chips for an eagle on the 18th hole. Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images.
Ewen Ferguson of Scotland celebrates as he chips for an eagle on the 18th hole. Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images.

Ferguson, who also set a new course record at the Hero Open at Fairmont St Andrews a fortnight ago, carded five birdies and two eagles as he moved four shots clear in Northern Ireland.

Already a winner on the DP World Tour this season at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, the 26-year-old held a healthy two-stroke lead as he stood on the 18th tee after holing out from a bunker on the par five tenth and making two further gains on the 13th and 14th holes, adding to his three under par front nine. He hit his second shot on the 18th just short of the green and then chipped in from 14 yards for his second eagle of the day, moving to nine under par.

He sits clear of Spain’s Borja Virto, Felix Palson of Sweden and Englishman Richard Bland, who each carded five under par rounds of 65 at Massereene, the second host venue of the innovative event. Eleven players share fourth place on four under par, including Filippo Celli who won the Silver Medal at The 150th Open at St Andrews after finishing as low amateur and Thomas Aiken who is making his first start since the South African Open last December.

Ferguson said: “I played the pro-am with Niall (Horan) and Robbie Keane yesterday and I kept hitting a lot of bunkers. They were saying, you love the bunkers. See you tomorrow. Just try and stay out of them. Today was just nice to avoid them, which was good. Obviously a 61, so course record is pretty nice.

“It is hard to do (follow a low round), because I had that kind of situation a couple weeks ago on St Andrews when I shot 11-under and the next day the feel was quite different. I was thinking, Jeez, I was seven-under at this point yesterday and I'm one under or level. So it is hard, but at the end of the day your golf ball doesn't know what score you're on, so just keep that in mind and try and just keep doing what I'm doing.”