RIFFA, Bahrain (AP) — Johan Edfors of Sweden shot an 8-under 64 Thursday in the first round of the Volvo Golf Champions, giving him a two-stroke lead in the European Tour’s debut in Bahrain.
Four players were at 66 – Peter Hanson, Pablo Larrazabal, Francesco Molinari and Graeme Storm. Sergio Garcia was tied with seven others at 67.
Padraig Harrington, who was disqualified last week when his ball moved after picking up his mark, and European Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal both shot 70. Colin Montgomerie, who designed the course, was two strokes further back along with Ian Poulter.
Edfors had nine birdies at Royal Golf Club.
“Hit a lot of fairways, which are a bit wider than last week in Abu Dhabi, so it suits my game a bit better. And my distance control with irons was really good,” Edfors said. “I gave myself a lot of good chances within 15 feet and holed a few of those and made a couple of birdies on the par 5s.”
Garcia, back on the tour after some time off, was pleased with his round.
“A lot of good putts, a lot of good strokes,” Garcia said. “Some really nice shots, and a couple of shots in there that I kind of would like to hit again. But I think it was definitely the right way to start the year.”
The course in Bahrain has been criticized for its severe slopes on the greens on the practice round Tuesday. Edfors agreed it was difficult to attack them.
“But they have done a great job in keeping the flags in the right positions,” Edfors said. “The greens look really, really big in the yardage book.”