Scottish trio off to promising starts in cold conditions for Austrian Open
In-form David Drysdale coped well with a “massive adjustment” from his title challenge in Kenya last month to join Ewen Ferguson and Grant Forrest in producing promising starts in cold conditions for the Austrian Open.
The trio all opened with two-under-par 70s at Diamond Country Club in Atzenbrugg, near Vienna, to sit just two shots off the lead, held by Spaniard Alejandro Canizares, with two-time major winner Martin Kaymer among four players in a share of second spot.
The biggest battle for players was the cold weather, with Drysdale among those to get a shock to the system after their previous outings had been in hot temperatures in back-to-back events in Kenya.
“Jeez, it’s cold,” said the 46-year-old Borderer after signing for an effort that contained four birdies. “ I mean, it’s tough to get moving. It’s tough to swing and get any sort of feel.”
Drysdale, who tied for fifth in the second in the Kenya Savannah Classic, the second of those tournaments at Karen Country Club in Nairobi last month, let out a “phew” before adding: “The difference is we were hitting a wedge 160 yards in Kenya and here we are hitting a 6-iron from 160 yards into the wind.
“It’s such a massive adjustment and trying to keep warm was the main thing as it started snowing us on 17 there
“I didn’t hit it in any trouble, played steady enough and had some good long. Overall, pretty happy.
“I thought I was swinging it well in Kenya, but I have no idea if I am here as you just can’t feel anything.
“Listen, the tour has done a great job getting this event on. I know it’s cold, but we are just unlucky as it was 20 degrees here last week and going to be 20 degrees next week.”
Ferguson illuminated his effort with an eagle-3 at the 15th while fellow former Scottish Boys’ champion Forrest recovered from starting with a bogey-6 to sign for five birdies, including a 2 to finish.
“I played nice,” said Ferguson. “The highlight of the day with my caddy saying to me that I would not get to the par-5 15th green in two, and with me wanting to prove him wrong.
“So, I stood up and smashed the driver and then 3-wood to 20-feet and holed the putt for an eagle and was saying: 'Hey, there you go!'”
Canizares, a two-time European Tour winner, made an eagle and four birdies as he set the pace, but Kaymer is already lurking ominously after an effort that contained six birdies.
“The biggest battle was probably the cold, but in general the golf course plays pretty well, the conditions are nice, the greens are good,” said te German, who sits alongside America John Catlin, Swede Rikard Karlberg and South African Jacques Kruyswijk.
“I didn't make many mistakes, so four under was a decent start,” said Kaymer, the man who holed the winning putt in the 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah and hoping to use this event as a springboard in his bid to be in Padraig Harrngton’s team for that event at Whistling Straits in September.