Norfolk’s Andrew Marshall makes encouraging return to European Tour

Friday, November 16, 2012
2:22 PM

Norfolk’s Andrew Marshall made an encouraging return to the European Tour at the UBS Hong Kong Open yesterday.

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The Dereham professional, playing in his first event since the middle of October, opened up with a solid one over par effort of 71 at Fanling.

A round that included just two dropped shots left him in a tie for 54th position – and well placed to make the halfway cut.

Marshall has failed to make the weekend since the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles in August and needs a decent pay day this week to boost his chances of retaining his European Tour card.

He currently stands 132nd in the Race to Dubai – with only the top 115 earning playing privileges for 2013. With around 50,000 Euros to make up he would need a top six finish to do it this week.

Spain’s Javi Colomo was the shock leader after the first round – with world number one Rory McIlroy nine shots behind and needing a big improvement just to survive the halfway cut.

Colomo is ranked 507th and does not have a European card at present, but the Asian Tour member’s six under par 64 left him one ahead of compatriot Miguel Angel Jimenez and Australian Andrew Dodt.

A tired-looking McIlroy, who last Sunday clinched his European and US Tour money list double, managed only one birdie as he began the defence of a trophy he lifted by holing a bunker shot on the final hole last December.

There was none of that inspired play from the 23-year-old on his return to Fanling. He had to play out left-handed from the trees on the sixth, made a mess of his approach to the 14th and three-putted from the fringe at the next. With bogeys on all three holes he finished the day down in a share of 93rd place in a field of 144 before telling reporters he felt “lethargic”.

With his wife acting as caddie, Colomo started with 10 pars in a row before picking up birdies at five of the next six and finishing with another.