By Fatiha Betscher in Oman.
It’s not easy when you get used to the wind blowing from the same direction for three days and then on the first day of the tournament it switches completely.
That’s what those, including Graeme McDowell, experienced on day one of the inaugural Asian Tour’s International Series Oman here on the stunning Al Mouj host course.
With the course looking to the north out over the Arabian Sea, the wind for the three days of practice was coming from an easterly direction and noticing also that flights from the close Muscat International Airport were taking off over the golf course into the wind.
However, the wind switched to a westerly direction with flights heading the opposite and coming into land instead from over the water and the golf course.
Out on the Greg Norman-designed layout it made holes six, seven, eight, nine and the 12th slightly easier whereas for McDowell, the par-4 last was a little tougher being into the wind.
“It was tricky out there this morning as we had a 180-degree wind switch and obviously when you don’t know a golf course very well, all of a sudden you are playing a few holes that are totally different,” said McDowell.
“Saying that I didn’t hit my irons very well and I didn’t really hole a whole lot, so to hang in shoot plus one wasn’t too bad.
“I drove the ball well and that was pleasing as that was my weakness in Saudi last week as I didn’t drive it that well and after giving that aspect of my game a lot of attention, I’m happy with how I drove it.”
McDowell was out from the short par-4 10th but dropped a shot at the par-3 11th where you play your shot straight towards the Gulf of Oman. He pared the next six holes ahead of a second bogey at the 18th.
He grabbed a first birdie, into the wind, at the short par-4 second hole or the 11th on his card and while dropping a third shot of his round at his 13th, McDowell holed out for a ‘2’ at the short 168-yard island hole fifth hole or his 14th.
It was then a run of four closing pars for his 73.
“I think potentially we got a good draw this week as it looks like it may get windier this afternoon, so I was conscious of trying to hang in as best I could,” McDowell added.
“So, I am not completely devastated with plus one but it should have been a lot better.
“The thing is, I like this golf course a lot as it’s also a first here for me, as I heard a lot of good things about it. We’re staying at a beautiful hotel and the golf course is really good.
“It’s very links looking but it doesn’t play links-like as you have warm weather grass here, so the greens are very grainy to help them get through some warm summers.
“Aesthetically it’s a great track with the greens very pure and I’d say the designer has laid out a few good tracks in his golf design career and this is one (smiling).”
- Full scoring HERE