Gavin Moynihan bounced back from a missed cut last week at the Perth Super Sixes to return an opening round of one-under-par 71 at the inaugural NBO Oman Open.
Making his debut in Australia as a fully-fledged member of the European there was bound to be nerves last time out, but the Dubliner seemed much more composed in his efforts today. He was two under for his first eight before he dropped his first shot at the 9th to be out in 35.
He mixed two further gains with two more dropped shots on his inward half to be home in 36, good enough for a share of 35th after day one.
One shot adrift of Moynihan sits Darren Clarke as he continues to search for some sort of form after a long barren spell. Clarke fired four birdies and as many dropped shots to claim a share of 49th after round one.
The opening day of the inaugural event threw up an astonishing coincidence as a pair of twin brother caddies played a part in two separate holes-in-one at Al Mouj Golf in Muscat, one of them for the joint tournament leader Matthew Southgate.
Southgate shared the first round lead with his English compatriot Paul Waring after incredibly holing a second ace in the space of three appearances en route to a seven under 65. This time, however, it was with a new caddie as Gary Tilston carried his bag for the first time.
The pair combined to hole out from 165 yards at the fifth hole, his 14th, not long after Tilston’s twin brother Guy had helped Marcel Siem pick the right distance and club for the German’s ace at the 13th.
“It was really good, but kind of a weird way to shoot 65”, acknowledged the likable Southgate. “I missed a few close-distance chances but then I holed two really long putts and had a hole-in-one so I think a 65 was how I played. It was a funny way to get that score but I’m over the moon with that start.
“It was very similar to my hole in one two weeks ago. It was a great club for me and the pin was tucked on the left half of the green and I’ve been hitting a shot recently which comes in on a small draw, so I aimed to the middle of the green and if it draws, it draws. I flushed it and as soon as it left the club I thought, that one looks good, and it went in on a putting pace – ran out and trickled in the edge. It was a nice little boost for the scorecard again.
“I have Gary Tilston caddying for me, just started this week, and Guy Tilston his twin brother caddies for Marcel who also had a hole-in-one.
A bit of a strange one to have two twins pick the right club for two holes-in-one in the same day – I bet that will never happen again!”
Southgate and Waring finished the day one stroke clear of Daan Huizing, the Dutchman having received an invite courtesy of Al Mouj Golf Club this week, while English duo Andy Sullivan and Callum Shinkwin are a shot further back on five under.