Albatross sees Webster share second

Salisbury Journal: England's Steve Webster impressed in Qatar England's Steve Webster impressed in Qatar

An amazing albatross on his first hole of the tournament helped England's Steve Webster claim a share of second place in the opening round of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters on Wednesday.

Webster holed his second shot to the par-five 10th at Doha Golf Club from 254 yards, recording the second albatross of his career with the same club and the second on the European Tour in the space of three weeks.

Holland's Joost Luiten made an albatross in the second round of the Volvo Golf Champions in Durban, coincidentally also on the 10th hole.

Webster added five birdies and one bogey to card a seven-under-par 65 and share second place with South African Dawie van der Walt, whose compatriot George Coetzee claimed the lead with a superb 64.

"It was 254 yards to the pin, slightly into the wind off the left," Webster told Sky Sports. "I want to say five iron but it was a five wood and I hit a great shot, obviously straight at it.

"Because I carry a big crowd following me, there were about two people behind the green and one of them started jumping up and pointing down and I didn't know if it had gone over the back into the rocks or in! I got up there and he started clapping and it was a dream start."

Webster, who used the same five wood for an albatross in the Italian Open in 2011, added: "I have never been three under before and you wonder 'is this my day or have I had all my luck on the first hole', but I played great after that.

"I was really consistent, gave myself a lot of chances and made a few putts and was probably a little disappointed with seven under to be honest. I probably should have finished nine or 10 under but it's a good start."

Van der Walt, who won the Nelson Mandela Championship in his native South Africa in December, had carded a flawless 65 containing five birdies and an eagle as he looked to bounce back from a disappointing finish in Abu Dhabi.

The 30-year-old shot an opening 68 last week before fading to finish 71st and said: "I had a terrible week and looked like a blind squirrel, I couldn't do anything right. Although my game didn't feel too bad, so playing well today, I'm not too surprised.

"I'll just try and birdie every hole like I did today. I played solid and I forgot about last week, so (I) just (need to) keep the same mindset and do the same things."

European number one Henrik Stenson quickly returned to form after a rare missed cut in Abu Dhabi, the Swede carding birdies at his last two holes to complete a four-under 68.

Playing partner Jason Dufner, the US PGA champion, returned a 70 but the third member of the marquee group, former world number one Luke Donald, could only manage a 72 which featured a missed par putt from inside a foot on the fourth.

Play got under way shortly after 7am local time following a 30-minute fog delay, but Darren Clarke was forced to miss out on his 500th European Tour appearance after pulling out through injury.

The 45-year-old suffered a pulled muscle on Tuesday and was forced to withdraw, with Sweden's Jens Dantorp - who earned his card through the qualifying school last year - taking his place in the field.

Clarke won the Open Championship in 2011, but has failed to record a single top-10 on the European Tour since his triumph at Royal St George's.

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