Alejandro Canizares utilized his lengthy Tour experience to card a valiant round of 67 on a cold and windy opening day at the 2021 Austrian Golf Open.
Despite winter-like temps during his late morning round at Diamond Country Club in Atzenbrugg, a suburb of Vienna, the Spaniard carded an eagle and four birdies against just a single dropped shot to get to 5-under par.
“I’m very pleased,” said Canizares, who holds a world ranking of No. 628.
“It was tough to keep focus – it’s so cold. It was tough to feel the hands and that’s very important.
“I think the strength was just keeping my head on every shot because it’s very easy when you miss a shot to let it go on days like this when you’re struggling physically and mentally to keep warm.
“It was just do my process and do every shot and I was happy the way I managed bad shots because I didn’t let them get to me like has happened in the past. That was the key.
“I didn’t think that I played wonderfully tee to green, it wasn’t beautiful, but I hit some really good shots and I made some good putts in the end, so a solid round overall.”
A group of four players were just a shot back at 4 -under 68, headlined by two-time major champion Martin Kaymer, and two-time 2020 Tour winner John Catlin.
Rikard Karlberg and Jacques Kruyswijk were the others in the T2 logjam.
Kaymer, the tournament headliner, got off to a quick start on Thursday, carding three birdies over his first six holes before dropping a shot late to turn on 2 under. The German had the same sequence on his inward nine, making three birdies on his first four holes, followed by a single bogey en route to a 4 under.
“I’ve never played the golf course, so it was very new for me when I came on Monday,” said 36-year old Kaymer, who’s still in search of a victory following that magical 2014 four-start stretch that saw him win The PLAYERS Championship and the U.S. Open, his second major at the age 29.
“I drove from Munich, it’s a very convenient tournament for me to participate in.
“I’ve enjoyed the golf course – not so much on Monday when it was snowing – but Tuesday, Wednesday and today was enjoyable and so close to my country. I like to come to Austria.
“It was quite similar to yesterday. Still cold and windy, but in the tournament you do hit it a little bit better, a little bit further. The adrenalin is up, your focus is up, so I was quite pleased the way I played the golf course under those conditions today.”
Sweden’s Niklas Lemke has withdrawn from the 2021 Austrian Golf Open after testing positive for the covid-19 flu.
2021 Austrian Golf Open
Top-5 Leaders: Round One
Pos-Player-To Par-(Rd 2)
1. Alejandro Canizares -5 (67)
2. Martin Kaymer -4 (68)
2. John Catlin -4 (68)
2. Jacques Kruyswijk -4 (68)
2. Rikard Karlberg -4 (68)
Material used from the European Tour Media & Communications to compile report.