Hong Kong Open: David Higgins leads with Joonas Granberg disqualified
Last Updated: 05/12/13 2:51pm
David Higgins: One shot lead after first round in Hong Kong
Ireland's David Higgins grabbed a one-shot lead at the Hong Kong Open during an eventful first round which saw Finland's Joonas Granberg disqualified and Sweden's Joel Sjoholm almost join him.
Higgins, who lost his European Tour card last season, fired nine birdies in his six-under round of 64 to lead Challenge Tour winner Andrea Pavan by a shot with a host of players one further back on four-under.
Disqualifications hit the headlines on day one though, with Granberg excluded for missing his tee-time and Sjoholm desperately close to joining him for the same reason.
First round leaderboard:
(GB & Ire unless stated)
-6 D Higgins
-5 A Pavan (Ita)
-4 A Dodt (Aus)
-4 S Benson
-4 A Gee
-4 S Singh (Ind)
Granberg was due to tee off at 11:50am local time from the 11th hole at Hong Kong Golf Club, but initially went to the first tee before realising his mistake.
The 26-year-old then dashed to the 11th tee only to find his caddie had gone to the 10th tee - the more usual starting place for a two-tee start - instead. That meant a missed tee time and disqualification - a fate Sjoholm was lucky to avoid.
"I set six alarm clocks this morning and woke up in desperation at 7:58am, tee time was 8:30am and we live a good 25 minutes from here so I was panicking to the tee box," Sjoholm told European Tour Radio.
"I was lucky to get a taxi pretty quickly and the European Tour helped me out big time because I showed up without any golf shoes on because they were in the locker.
"They went to the locker for me and I played the first hole in sneakers until I came up to the green when they were standing nicely there with two pairs of shoes so I could pick. It was the royal treatment!
"It felt quite awkward and when I was standing over the first tee shot I realised I hadn't even tied the laces on my sneakers, which are a half size too big as well.
"I managed to scramble a four on the first; the whole day I have just been waiting to make a bogey and it happened on the last hole.
"I am happy I shot minus two - I should not even be here. I am really happy at the moment. Maybe I should do it more often because it's a long time since I started that good."
Sjoholm's round of 68 left him four shots off the pace, while defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez had a disappointing start with a level par round of 70 leaving him six shots off the lead.