Danny’s dancing after superb first round

ST. ANDREWS: Malaysia’s Danny Chia gave himself a nine out of 10 after shooting an impressive three-under-par 69 in tough conditions at the British Open on Thursday.

The Asian Tour regular stormed to an outward 32 in his opening round at St Andrews before battling bravely when the weather turned dismal to trade two birdies with three bogeys.

It is the first time Danny has broken par in his third appearance at the world’s oldest Major and enhanced his hopes of becoming the first Malaysian to qualify for the weekend rounds.

“It was good. I hit a lot of good shots as the conditions were tough in the afternoon. I’ll take this 69 anytime,” said Danny, who ended the day in tied 30th place, six shots behind leader Rory McIlroy

“On the back nine, it started to rain and the winds were blowing quite strongly. I tried to play a lot of conservative shots and hit a lot of great shots. It was hard to expect a good score on the back nine.

“It’s nice to shoot my first under par round at the Open, but I wasn’t really thinking about it. I knew I was hitting the ball well and I wanted to take advantage of it. I hit a lot of good putts. I’m pleased.”

The 37-year-old got out of the blocks quickly with birdies on the second, third and fifth holes before holing another birdie on nine.

But as the Old Course bared its teeth late in the afternoon, Danny bogeyed the 11th with a three putt and then found a pot bunker on 13 to drop another shot.

However, birdies from eight and 10 feet at the 14th and 15th respectively got him back to four-under before Chia dropped a third bogey at the notorious 17th Road Hole after a wayward drive.

“I had the bad side of the draw,” said Chia, who finished his round at 9.30pm local time. “It’s golf, you just accept the conditions. I would rate this round as a nine out of 10.

“The two bogeys that I had on 11 and 13, I actually hit good shots. That was when conditions were tough.

“It was hard to keep the ball in line. On 17, I made a mental mistake where I rushed my swing and hit it into the left rough. I got into more trouble with another shot in the rough but managed to salvage a bogey. It was a good bogey,” said Danny, who is Malaysia’s first winner on the Asian Tour.

Danny showed poise and control on his inward nine, hitting low running shots that are so often required in links golf. He said the buzz of being at the Home of Golf was simply inspiring.

“I always enjoy playing at St Andrews. I get to play a lot of shots that I don’t get to play in Asia. I think it’s fun,” he added.

Meanwhile, Danny could only manage a 77 at a wind-hit second-round yesterday to take his two-day total to 146.

(78 of 156 players have completed their second round)

132: Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa) 65-67; 137: Mark Calcavecchia (US) 70-67; 138: Paul Casey (Eng) 69-69, Lee Westwood (Eng) 67-71; 139: Tom Lehman (US) 71-68, Ricky Barnes (US) 68-71, Peter Hanson (Swe) 66-73, Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spa) 72-67, Graeme McDowell (Nir) 71-68, Retief Goosen (Rsa) 69-70; 140: Ignacio Garrido (Spa) 69-71, Toru Taniguchi (Jpn) 70-70, Robert Karlsson (Swe) 69-71, Martin Kaymer (Ger) 69-71; 141:Shane Lowry (Irl) 68-73, Vijay Singh (Fij) 68-73, YE Yang (Kor) 67-74, Dustin Johnson (US) 69-72;

142: Jeff Overton (US) 73-69, Bradley Dredge (Wal) 66-76, Alvaro Quiros (Spa) 72-70, Adam Scott (Aus) 72-70, Sergio Garcia (Spa) 71-71; 143: Simon Khan (Eng) 74-69; 144: Peter Senior (Aus) 73-71, Kevin Na (US) 70-74, Marc Leishman (Aus) 73-71, Phil Mickelson (US) 73-71, Thomas Aiken (Rsa) 71-73; 145: Colm Moriarty (Irl) 72-73, Scott Verplank (US) 72-73, Luke Donald (Eng) 73-72, Steve Stricker (US) 71-74, Colin Montgomerie (Sco) 74-71, Edoardo Molinari (Ita) 69-76, Heath Slocum (US) 71-74; 146: Hirofumi Miyase (Jpn) 71-75, Rickie Fowler (US) 79-67, Zach Johnson (US) 72-74, Richard S Johnson (Swe) 73-73, Danny Chia (Mas) 69-77;

147: Eric Chun (Kor) 71-76, Bubba Watson (US) 74-73; 148: Rhys Davies (Wal) 73-75, Ben Crane (US) 72-76, Gareth Maybin (Nir) 72-76; 149: Ben Curtis (US) 76-73, Angel Cabrera (Arg) 73-76, Jason Bohn (US) 75-74, DA Points (US) 72-77; 150: Koumei Oda (Jpn) 74-76, Jim Furyk (US) 77-73, Geoff Ogilvy (Aus) 72-78, Hiroyuki Fujita (Jpn) 75-75, Justin Leonard (US) 76-74, KJ Choi (Kor) 76-74, Paul Goydos (US) 74-76;

151: Anders Hansen (Den) 77-74, Sandy Lyle (Sco) 75-76, Francesco Molinari (ITA) 74-77, Tim Petrovic (US) 71-80, Jean Hugo (Rsa) 76-75; 152: Kurt Barnes (Aus) 75-77, Darren Fichardt (Rsa) 74-78, Paul Streeter (Eng) 76-76, Josh Cunliffe (Rsa) 75-77; 153: Katsumasa Miyamoto (Jpn) 77-76, Victor Dubuisson (Fra) 80-73;

154: Jerry Kelly (US) 79-75; 155: Jose Manuel Lara (Spa) 80-75, Brian Gay (US) 72-83, Tyrrell Hatton (Eng) 78-77, Park Jae-bum (Kor) 76-79, George McNeill (US) 78-77; 156: Gary Clark (Eng) 79-77; 157: Glen Day (US) 78-79; 160: Laurie Canter (Eng) 81-79; 165: Simon Edwards (US) 79-86. — AFP

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