Lonard leads in Qatar

Australian Peter Lonard leads by one in the howling conditions in Doha

Martin Park
Thu, 9 Mar 2000
0

Australian Peter Lonard leads in the Qatar Masters after a 5-under par score in very windy conditions in the desert. Lonard had the advantage over the later starters as the wind was just a breeze when he teed off. But later in the day, the winds gusted and there were only 12 players managing to break par all day.
The tournament directors even had to shorten the course by 110-yards to make it a bit easier for the players to score.

Lonard who had two years off the tour suffering from a rare virus carried by mosquitos, Ross River disease, used his broomhandle putter to good effect around the desert course.

He said:
"This type of wind is normal in Australia, so it didn't bother me. I'm used to it being blowy and the course being hard and bouncy. I like courses where par is important. I like it bouncy and hard. I have a pretty short swing and I like to knock the ball in low. The lower the better”.

Lonard was one of the first to tee off and even had to practice early in the morning under floodlights. But it paid off for the 33-year-old Sydney based player. "It wasn't real good getting up that early, but if I'm going to shoot 67 each time, then give me a 6.50am tee-off all the time!"

He leads Englishman David Lynn and Dutchman Rolf Muntz by one stroke going into the second round and is hoping to improve on his two second place finishes on the European Tour.

Muntz is also vying to go one better after two European Tour second places in his six years on tour. He fired up his round with birdies on four of the last five holes.

Lynn, in his second year on tour, finished fifth in the South African PGA Championship and is finding form after receiving a putting tip from British Open Champion Justin Leonard last week in the Desert Classic in Dubai.

Another Aussie, Stephen Leaney is making use of his Australian upbringing tied with Markus Brier and Gary Orr on 70, two-under par.

Scotalnds Alistair Forsyth slumped to an 80, one of the learning days on tour, maybe I put the curse on him this week when we picked him to "nick it"!

 

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