Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ferrie on Heels of the Leaders

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ferrie on Heels of the Leaders

Article excerpt

Byline: By Alan Hedley

Kenneth Ferrie re-discovered his birdie touch in the first round of the Spanish Open in Tenerife.

The 24-year-old Ashington golfer had six birdies in his 67 to be just four shots off leaders Marten Olander of Sweden and South African Charl Schwartzel - who gave himself another chance to become the youngest winner in European Tour history after he opened with a 63.

Despite opening with bogey at the long par five first, Ferrie hit great tee shots at both the short holes, the second and fifth to go one under and then he birdie the next three par fives, the eighth, 11 and 13th and got it to five under par with another birdie 17.

After his 16th place finish in the Portuguese Open at Vale do Lobo last week which netted him just over pounds 11,000 and moved him up to 68th in the Volvo Order of Merit on pounds 40,607, Ferrie is now poised for another good week if he can follow up that 67 with another sub-par round to make sure of the cut.

Newcastle's Mike Archer posted a 72 but will rue missed chances after picking up birdies at the first and then three in a row starting at the 11th but bogeys at the third, eighth, 10th and the last wiped out all the good work.

Playing just his 11th professional event, Schwartzel will overtake compatriot Dale Hayes if he wins.

Hayes was 18 years and nine months when he won the title in Barcelona in 1971. Schwartzel is two months younger.

The teenager came home in 29 thanks to three birdies and eagles at both the 567-yard third and 547-yard eighth. But he said: "I didn't drive very well and missed a lot of fairways.

"But you can get away with it on this course."

Sergio Garcia, the defending champion, finished the day already six strokes behind Schwartzel and Olander.

Sweden's Jarmo Sandelin and Dane Soren Hansen had both set course records of 64 before Schwartzel lowered it again.

Then Olander joined the Johannesburg golfer, not dropping a shot either and covering the back nine in 30. …

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