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Australia lead after first days play
November 24, 2011

Brendan Jones and Richard Green representing Australia took an early lead on the first day of the 2011 Omega Mission Hills World Cup at Mission Hills Hainan.

The Australian pair shot 61 including two eagles to finish the day eleven under par. They were quick to get into their stride on Hainan’s championship Blackstone Course which takes inspiration from the ancient volcanic terrain that preceded it.

Richard Green said: "We combined very well today. Brendan started very well and built the momentum. It helped me progress with my game and towards the back nine was able to contribute a little and get the eagle on the Par four 16th."

Both rarely strayed off the undulating fairways that meander through giant lava rocks, stone ruins, mature trees and wetlands. Brendan Jones added: "It was a lot of fun. He (Richard) is such an easy guy to play with because he’s in play all the time, and between us, there was always someone in the hole to give the other guy a chance."

The Australian duo take a three shot lead into the second day ahead of Ireland and Scotland, both tied second on nine under par, and the Netherlands and United States tied third on eight under par.

It is the first time the event has been held at Mission Hills resort in Haikou the capital of Hainan Island, which encompasses ten courses in total catering for a range of abilities. The 7,808-yard Blackstone course is the brainchild of respected designers Brian Curley who set about creating a tournament course that was unlike any other but remained true to its natural surroundings.

Ireland’s Rory McIlroy and his partner Graeme McDowell were impressed with the course. McIlroy, the current world number two, said:

"It’s a fantastic course, good lay-out and very long. The second shots are very challenging, the greens are very undulating making it quite tricky and there are a lot of bunkers and other hazards. It’s a good test of golf."

Another player to echo this sentiment was current world number four, Martin Kaymer. The German and his partner Alex Cejka shot 64 to finish tied fourth. He said:

"The course is unique, no rough, a lot of bunkers and being on an island there is a lot of wind but the greens are very nice. It's all about the angles towards the greens and placing the balls on the fairway in the right spots."

The course consumes 350-acres of Hainan’s exotic volcanic region and used 30million m³ of soil to cover the dense lava bed at an average depth of one meter. Uncapped lava rock landforms punctuate the holes and offer a stark contrast to the green velvety fairways. The rolling typography means effective course management is key in navigating these unique hazards. The back nine in particular has numerous risk/reward scenarios and proved a stern test of skill and mental toughness for several teams today.


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