Dutch Open 2021: Ryder Cup vice-captain Graeme McDowell makes fighting start

Thomas Pieters, Andrew "Beef" Johnston and Thomas Detry are all in action at Bernardus Golf, Cromvoirt, Netherlands.

Dutch Open 2021: Ryder Cup vice-captain Graeme McDowell makes fighting start
Dutch Open 2021: Ryder Cup vice-captain Graeme McDowell makes fighting…

Team Europe vice-captain Graeme McDowell made a determined start at the Dutch Open as Irishman Niall Kearney holds the lead.

McDowell scrambled all day to get into the clubhouse at 1-under par with an opening round of 71.

The Northern Irishman's round included three birdies and two bogeys on a tough day.   

He fist-pumped a huge par save at 15 and then found a closing birdie at 18 on the new host venue of the European Tour event. 

McDowell, 42, said it was a late decision to play, adding: "I felt like I made the right decision, it's been too long. 

"I didn't drive the ball very well today and left a few out there."   

Belgium's Thomas Pieters also had a good start (69) to get to 3-under-par.

South Africa's Brandon Stone (68) had a decent day.  


Pieters got to 5-under-par but found the water at the par-3 17th, missing left with a bad mental error. 

He compounded his error at 17 and found the water with his tee shot at the par-5 18th. 

Thomas Detry (67) played well, draining several long putts and struck his irons well all day after a poor front nine. 

Detry is two behind the lead.

McDowell's fellow Irishman Kearney set a new course record (65) to get to 7-under-par with a bogey-free round to gain the sole lead.

Denmark's Martin Simonsen set the early clubhouse lead with with an opening 66. 

Simonsen went bogey-free for 18 holes, averaging 1.8 putts per green in reg.  

"I usually get off to a poor start then have to scramble on a Friday," the Dane, 32, said. 

Elsewhere, England's Sam Horsefield (67) made a good start.

Andrew "Beef" Johnston made a solid return to form at Wentworth last week. 

He's in the clubhouse at 2-under-par. 

Last year's champion, Sergio Garcia, is absent as he prepares for the forthcoming Ryder Cup. 


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