Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

McDowell’s struggling as fog takes hold

The gods are not smiling in either the Northern or Southern Hemispheres as heavy fog disrupted the first round of the 2.2 million euro Ballantine's Championship at Pinx golf club on Jeju Island in the Korean Republic.



Play was eventually suspended as darkness fell. Earlier it had been halted twice for a total of six hours and 10 minutes due to fog which swept in over this testing island course.

Ironically, organisers had been expecting high winds throughout the tournament.

Instead they got no wind and the fog rolled in, swathing the course in a dense blanket of grey mist.

Of those who got their rounds completed, Australia's Marcus Fraser was the happiest after shooting a bogey-free, seven under par 65 to lead by a shot from England's Mark Foster.

Ted Oh, Rick Kulacz and Jamie Donaldson shared third place at five under 67, but Donaldson still had two holes left to complete when play stopped for the day. Of the Irish contingent, only Graeme McDowell managed to play 18 holes, and after filing a 74, he might have been wishing that the fog had held him up.

McDowell was the first winner of this tournament in 2008, and came to Pinx GC with hopes high and happy memories of a course on which he recorded his first win since 2004.

Irish Open champion Shane Lowry got through 16 holes and was at level par.

At least he had only two holes to play to complete his first round before embarking on round two, unlike Paul McGinley, Peter Lawrie and Damien McGrane.

McGinley had one hole completed when he had to stop, and thus faced 35 holes today.

McGrane and Lawrie never managed to start their first round.

Ulster's Gareth Maybin had more reason than most to curse his luck, as he was playing nicely for three under par after 12 holes.

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