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On his first start in the UBS Hong Kong Open since 2013, Jorge Campillo authored a 4-under-par 33-33=66 in round one, good enough for T3 and just two back from the lead.

The Spaniard finished T24 on debut three years ago but left with good vibes after recovering from an first-round 73 with rounds of 65, 69, 69. His Thursday lap today was seven shots better than his 2013 opener so he now has the chance to make a title bid as opposed to playing catch-up. One of the wave to start at the 11th, Campillo birdied the 426-yard par 4 and followed it with another circle at 12. He quietened after that with a birdie at 16 being negated by a bogey at 1 but another pair of birdies at 7 and 8 ensured a pleasing start. The 30-year-old enjoyed his best season on the European Tour in 2016, finishing 42nd on the Race to Dubai.
Dec 8 - 6:01 AM

After T4 in last week's Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa, Benjamin Hebert continued his strong start to the 2017 European Tour season with a 4-under-par 33-33=66 in round one of the UBS Hong Kong Open.

The Frenchman's wild ride around Fanling contained eight birdies, four bogeys and six pars and left him tied third on the leaderboard, two behind leader Rafa Cabrera-Bello. Hebert, who is making his tournament debut, parred the first hole and then thrashed four straight birdies. By the turn, all but one of those gains had gone as he returned to 1-under with bogeys at 6, 8 and 9. The rollercoaster continued with a birdie at 10 and he added three further circles (13, 15 and 17) against one more square at 16. Phew. He'll want to eliminate the errors in round two but overall he has to be extremely content with his final score.
Dec 8 - 5:51 AM

Peter Uihlein hasn't had a top 30 finish on the European Tour since March but is on track to end that unwanted streak after hoisting up a bogey-free 4-under-par 32-34=66 in round one of the UBS Hong Kong Open at Fanling.

That run stretches eight tournaments, highlighting the fact that he's had to have time away from the course after having wrist surgery. He made his first start since a failed comeback in August/September when missing the cut in last week's Australian PGA Championship (76-73) but today he was back in the groove. The American started with six straight pars and then opened his birdie account with back-to-back circles at 7 and 8. Another run of seven pars was followed by further red at 16 and 18 and that lifted him to T3 on the end-of-play leaderboard, two shots behind first-round leader Rafa Cabrera-Bello. The early signs are good for Uihlein but can he keep it going?
Dec 8 - 5:44 AM

David Lipsky enjoyed a run of five birdies in six holes and signed for a 4-under-par 37-29=66 in round one of the UBS Hong Kong Open at Fanling.

The American cracked the top 50 on the Race to Dubai for the first time last season and will be looking to improve on that 47th place finish in 2017. This is a good way to start and it puts him T3 on the leaderboard and just two swings behind first-round leader Rafa Cabrera-Bello. Starting from the 11th tee, Lipsky was quiet over his first eight holes with a birdie at 13 wiped out by a bogey at 18. But on Fanling's easier front nine he cashed in fully and signed for birdies at 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6. Another circle at his closing hole would have tied the lead but he made bogey instead to drop two back. This is the 28-year-old's lowest round at Fanling, beating by one the third-round 67 he shot when T12 on debut in 2013.
Dec 8 - 5:36 AM

Rookie Jordan Smith kicked off his 2017 European Tour campaign with a first-round 4-under-par 36-30=66 in the UBS Hong Kong Open at Fanling.

Smith is a man on the up after topping the Challenge Tour rankings last year and today's impressive start puts him tied third after the opening 18 holes, just two shots back from leader Rafa Cabera-Bello. The 24-year-old had a mixed start with one birdie (12) against a bogey (14) over his first five holes. He parred his way to the turn and then came back in just 30 blows to shoot up the leaderboard. Smith reeled off three straight birdies from Nos. 3-5 and added another circle at 7 before two closing pars completed an excellent day. This is just his fourth start on the European Tour.
Dec 8 - 5:25 AM

Tommy Fleetwood's flawless 4-under-par 34-32=66 first round lap of Hong Kong GC left him T3 in the UBS Hong Kong Open, two shots behind the leader Rafa Cabrera-Bello.

The Englishman looks set to continue the two-tone trend of 2016. Before the Paul Lawrie Match Play in August he was 8-for-14 with just four top 25 finishes; since the head-to-head event he is 11-for-11 with nine top 25s. He's making his debut at Fanling, but has plenty of experience in China, including a T2 in the 2014 China Open and T3 in the 2015 Shenzhen International. He started on the back nine (and due to a quirk of the course the 11th tee) and ticked his first number at the 14th. The front nine had two more at 3 and 8 before he closed the day with a final birdie at the 10th.
Dec 8 - 3:52 AM

Paul Peterson smoothed an opening lap of Hong Kong GC, shooting 4-under-par 35-31=66 to sit T3 on the round one leaderboard at the UBS Hong Kong Open.

The 28-year-old Oregon State grad claimed his first European Tour victory when lifting the D+D Real Czech Masters in August, but since then, with the exception of a first round 64 which left him first after the opening lap of the European Masters, it has been a bit of struggle since, finishing inside the top 50 just once in seven starts. He played the back nine first, making birdies at 12 and 16, with a bogey at 15. The front nine witnessed a burst of red: back-to-back at 2 and 3, then again at 5 and 6, before an error at the 9th cost him a late bogey. Two previous visits to Fanling have resulted in missed weekends so he's on track to break that trend.
Dec 8 - 3:42 AM

Out first Sam Brazel steered a steady course at Fanling to card a first round 4-under-par 31-35=66, which even late in the day was good enough for T3, two shots behind the leader Rafa Cabrera-Bello in the UBS Hong Kong Open.

The 38-year-old Australian, a four year veteran of the Asian Tour, has limited experience of co-sanctioned European Tour events, but did post T15 in last week's Australian PGA Championship - his second best effort in such tournaments (top was his T11 in the 2016 Thailand Classic). He opened with a bogey at the first but wasted little time turning his day around, marking a birdie at the par-three second. The real excitement came just before the turn when he ticked a hat-trick of par-breakers at 6, 7 and 8. Two more came on the back nine, at 10 and 13, with a bogey in between at the 11th. This is his third appearance at Hong Kong GC; he missed the cut in 2014, but finished T18 12 months ago, breaking 70 four times.
Dec 8 - 3:34 AM

Sébastien Gros crafted a superb 5-under-par 34-31=65 to sit alone in second after the first round of the UBS Hong Kong Open in Fanling.

The Frenchman is making his debut at the Hong Kong GC, but despite a reputation for big-hitting - he finished second on the 2016 Driving Distance rankings - he found the tight, tree-lined track no problem at first acquaintance. He began his circuit on the back nine - and from the 11th tee, as the course demands. His first move was to make birdie at the 144-yard par-three 12th before parring his way to the turn. He added three more birdies at 1, 4 and 5 before ending the round on the 10th with a final par breaker. He retained his card in his rookie year of 2016, but ran out of gas a little in the late stages so this round marks a return to form and a smart start to the new season if he can maintain the momentum. He may lack course form but in three visits to China on the Challenge Tour he was 3-for-3 with two top 20s.
Dec 8 - 3:18 AM

Rafa Cabrera-Bello's stellar display of ball-striking took him to the top of the round one leaderboard at the UBS Hong Kong Open; his 6-under-par 32-32=64 giving him a one shot advantage over Sebastian Gros, with a pack of ten at 4-under.

The Spaniard coasted round Hong Kong GC, a course he had previously gone sub-69 on just once in ten attempts. His bogey-free lap began at the 11th hole (a quirk of the tight and fiddly layout) and he notched five consecutive pars before adding back-to-back red at 16 and 17. The front nine started with more birdies, at the 1st and 3rd before he again settled into a spell of par making, adding six of them before reaching the 367-yard par-four 10th. He found the middle of the fairway, then hit a superb wedge just beyond the flag and spun it backwards where upon it fell neatly into the hole for an eagle-2. Cabrera-Bello, a star performer throughout 2016, has failed to find the win, but were he to continue to find all 18 greens in regulation this week, something he did Thursday, then he'll give himself a great chance of breaking the duck with his last throw of the dice.
Dec 8 - 3:11 AM

Justin Rose admits his preparations for this week's UBS Hong Kong Open aren't ideal but he remains committed to put up a strong defense of the title he won last year.

Rose had nearly two months off after the Ryder Cup to try and resolve a back issue but it flared up again on his return in last week's Hero World Challenge, forcing him to withdraw after round one. "I've done everything I can the last few days to do everything I can to defend here," he told europeantour.com. "I'm making good progress. The journey over here seemed to go well and I'm looking forward to tomorrow. I've been working hard to be honest with you for seven weeks. I've been really excited about what I've seen in my game in practice. In terms of this week, it's not ideal to come in here slightly undercooked preparation-wise but I'm hoping that the fact that I've been diligent and careful the last few days is going to allow me to be competitive for all four days." Rose shot 17-under last year to win a final-day duel with Denmark's Lucas Bjerregaard.
Dec 7 - 8:05 AM

Chris Hanson kicked off his 2017 European Tour campaign with T11 at the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa and now heads to the Far East to contest the UBS Hong Kong Open.

It sounds like a good start but the Englishman, who just clung on to this card by a single spot last season, was T2 going into the final day before slipping nine spots with a closing 76. Finishing outside the top 10 in an event with a modest purse wins you little (18,580 Euro to be precise) so he'll be hunting a bigger cheque in Hong Kong. It's his first start at Fanling but he has teed it up in the region and done well. Hanson contested the Foshan Open on mainland China in both 2014 and 2015 and finished T12 and T6 respectively. He also placed third for greens in regulation at the Alfred Dunhill and a repeat of that would be an ideal formula for success at Fanling.
Dec 7 - 7:54 AM

Jason Scrivener finished T3 in last year's UBS Kong Open and returns to Fanling to try his luck again this week.

The Aussie shot three 68s and a third-round 65 on his debut at the course and that was his only top 10 of the season. After keeping his playing privileges for 2017 by finishing 105th on the 2016 Race to Dubai, Scrivener will want to step it up on the T62 he managed last week. That came in his home Australian PGA Championship so fell way below expectations given that he'd taken fourth place in the previous week's Australian Open and also third in February's Perth International.
Dec 7 - 7:45 AM

Bernd Ritthammer finished second in the 2016 Challenge Tour rankings and starts his 2017 European Tour campaign in the UBS Hong Kong Open.

This is the German's second crack at this level and he looks better equipped to handle it after winning three times on Europe's second tier in 2016. Those victories came in July, September and November (NBO Golf Classic Grand Final) so he'll hope to ride that momentum to the Far East. The 29-year-old will be making his 47th European Tour start and second in the Hong Kong Open at Fanling. His debut on the short par 70 didn't go well when he shot 9-over last year to miss the cut by a distance. It's fair to expect a much improved performance this time, a notion supported by him finishing sixth and third in two Challenge Tour events in China.
Dec 7 - 7:36 AM

Nacho Elvira finished 44th on last season's Race to Dubai and gets his 2017 campaign underway in this week's UBS Hong Kong Open.

The Spaniard had only finished 214th and 121st in the previous two and his struggles looked set to continue when he opened the 2016 season with seven straight missed cuts. But he found a groove after that and posted six top 10s, two of those coming in his final four events of the season. This will be his third start at Fanling after T39 on debut in 2013 and T46 last year. Interestingly, he also has some other notable form in the region having won the Challenge Tour's 2013 Foshan Open in China and taken T8 in the Shenzhen International earlier this year.
Dec 7 - 7:21 AM



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