Ewen Ferguson puts covid issues behind him to set down marker at Kenya Open
One-under for the day through six holes at Muthaiga Golf Club in Nairobi, the 25-year-old Glaswegian followed a run of three straight birdies with an eagle-3 at the tenth, where he only had a 9-iron for his second shot and stuck it to around 10 feet.
With the same club in his hand at the par-5 18th, Ferguson finished with a birdie, which, having dropped shots at the 14th and 16th, gave him an opening five-under-par 66.
He sits in a tie for fourth place, two shots behind leader Daniel Gavins from England, and it was much more like it from the former British and Scottish Boys’ champion following a week to forget in last month’s Ras Al Khaimah Classic.
Having missed the first leg of a double-header in the emirate after contracting Covid for a second time, Ferguson finished 130th in a field of 132 players following rounds of 76-78.
“I played nicely in Abu Dhabi,” he said of finishing inside the top 40 in a Rolex Series event in his first start as a full card holder on the DP World Tour following his graduation from the Challenge Tour.
“But I then had to sit in my apartment for seven or eight days in Dubai. As a result of that, I went to the second event in Ras Al Khaimah with a shocking sleeping pattern and a golf swing where I didn’t know where it was going, to be honest.
“That was down to a total lack of playing and I knew that, but, as I was out there, I thought I’d give it a go.
“It didn’t get me down at all as I knew it wasn’t me. I was hitting it nowhere in terms of length and I think that was because Covid can kick you in the stomach and take the wind out of you.”
Having used some time at home to get his energy back, the Scot admitted he’d enjoyed being able to hit booming drives again on a day when was joined by David Law (68) in securing a spot inside the top 10.
“At the 10th, I was just trying to hit it over the corner and, at this altitude, it goes so far,” he added. “The fairways also get bouncy in the afternoon and, when I saw it bounce, I thought ‘wow, that’s miles down there’.
“I don’t know how far that drive was, but on seven and eight, I hit it like 370-380, which gave me a bit of confidence. I think I like playing at altitude.”
Law signed for five birdies, with Scott Jamieson and Connor Syme each carding four as the posted matching 68s.
Craig Howie and David Drysdale also broke par with matching 69s, leaving Richie Ramsay (73) as the odd man out among the Scots.
Elsewhere, Rory Franssen and Lewis Irvine both progressed to the last 32 in the Spanish Men’s Amateur, but there was an early exit at Sherry Golf for George Burns, as well as Chloe Goadby in the women’s equivalent at Pineda.
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