Unknown Spaniard upstages McIlroy

Unknown Spaniard upstages McIlroy

HONG KONG - Agence France-Presse
Unknown Spaniard upstages McIlroy

AFP photo

Spain’s Javier Colomo, ranked outside the top 500, upstaged Rory McIlroy and compatriot Miguel Angel Jimenez to grab the first-round lead at the UBS Hong Kong Open yesterday.

The unheralded golfer, languishing at 507th in the world, fired six birdies in a flawless six-under-par 64 to take a shock lead at the $2 million showpiece that is co-sanctioned by the European Tour and the Asian Tour.

His sizzling round was in stark contrast to that of McIlroy’s. The titleholder endured a torrid day at an increasingly blustery club, carding a three-over-par 73 to leave him well off the pace.

The veteran Jimenez, 48, who is bidding to become the European Tour’s oldest winner, was tied in second with Australia’s Andrew Dodt, a shot behind Colomo. Jose Maria Olazabal was among five players in tied fourth after matching 66s.

“I probably just lacked a bit of energy out there. I felt a bit lethargic -- mentally, more than physically, if I am being honest,” said McIlroy, 23.

“I started off OK and just got more and more frustrated as the round went on. I just felt like I was hitting some decent shots and just not really converting any chances for birdies and I just let it get to me a little bit.”

Colomo, who plays on the Asian Tour, where he sits a modest 33rd on the money list, said: “I’m playing really good because this is my first season here [in Asia]. The first six months it was very hard for me and my wife. But now we are more comfortable and more happy, perfect,” added Colomo, 28.