The biggest stars of the D+D REAL Czech Masters at Albatross started the tournament in fine form. After the first round, John Daly and Thomas Pieters, who led the field with a score of -8 when they played 64 strokes, were among the four leading players. The best of the Czechs are Filip Mrůzek, Jan Cafourek, and Ondřej Lieser, who are in joint 41th place.
Daly set a sharp pace right from the start when he played three birdies on the first three holes. He did not make a mistake during the first 18 holes and added another five birdies, which pleased the hundreds of fans following his flight.
”I did not expect to be so high, but I played without making any mistakes. This year I played really well, but I could not finish some tournaments, which hurt. Even today it was not perfect, but it did not limit me so much,” said Daly after the first round about his knee problems.
”Fortunately, this course has comfortable distances, making it a little easier for me. My driving with the new PXG driver was very good today. I hit a lot of fairways, which gave me a bit of self-confidence, which resulted in me converting several converted putts,” said Daly in regards to his performance.
Jamie Donaldson, the winner of the first Czech Masters, was a close second up until the last two holes. In the end, however, he played two bogeys and, after carding a score of -4, fell to joint 29th place, which he is also sharing with Danny Willett.
Just two wounds behind the lead is the star duo of captain’s assistants for this year’s Ryder Cup, Padraig Harrington and Lee Westwood. Both carded 66 (-6) and are in joint 10th place.
In the same position is Eddie Pepperell, who they are tasked with watching, and who can still secure his place in the Ryder Cup in qualification. To achieve this, he needs a great result from the Czech Masters, and he has taken a promising step to do so.
Another player on the Ryder Cup watchlist is Belgium‘s Thomas Pieters, who confirmed that Albatross agrees with him very well. After the first round, the 2015 winner shares the lead with Daly, Callum Tarren, and Gavin Green.
Of the Czech hopes, the best starters were Mrůzek, Cafourek, and Lieser, who all carded a 69 during the morning’s flights. Lukáš Tintěra started the 18th with three under par in the evening, but he finished with his only bogey of the day, after which he carded 70.
“I was playing pretty well until the time of the break,” said Tintěra, referring to the 90-minute afternoon break caused by a storm.
“Then I was still pushing, but was unable to convert the putts, otherwise the course played very nicely. My short game held up, which I am very happy about,” said Tintěra, who almost saved a par score on the 18th after making a drive in the water. He is in 65th place after the first round.
Of the Czechs, Aleš Kořínek and Petr Gál also managed to get under par in the first round. Stanislav Matuš and Daniel Suchan are in joint 110th place for a round on par. Amateurs Šimon Zach and Václav Tichý carded +1 and + 2, respectively. Michal Pospíšil carded +3, with Petr Dědek Jr. carding +7.