Kiwis Ryan Fox and Michael Campbell have started solidly to be in striking distance of the lead after the first round of the British Masters at Newcastle-upon-Tyne in England.
Fox, 33, shot five birdies in the round of 67 to finish the first day at 4-under the card 3 shots behind the outright leader David Law from Scotland who shot a 7-under 64.
Veteran Michael Campbell, 51, made the best of the early morning conditions with a 3-under round of 68 after 6 birdies, including one on the opening and closing holes.
The former US Open Champion has his 21-year-old son Thomas caddying for him this week and it was smiles all round after the opening round.
“I didn’t expect that,” Campbell admitted to The Guardian.
“I started practising two weeks ago, hit a few balls and played a bit with some mates who I’m staying with down in Marbella. I hadn’t played in eight months, since October last year. So I’m really surprised to shoot three-under.
“My expectations were pretty much none, I wanted to get out here and enjoy myself. It’s weird with no crowds, no clapping. I think I made six birdies today and nothing there. It’s kind of weird, it’s like playing with your mates – more intense, but it’s the first time for me not playing in front of a crowd. It’s very different indeed.
“I’ve had a good career the last 20 years, winning 15 times around the world, that’s good enough for me. If I have another one this week it’s a bonus.”
Played at Close House GC, the British Masters is the second of the European Tour resumed tournaments following the COVID-19 shutdown. Since the resumption, no positive COVID-19 tests have been reported.
For the leader David Law as with Campbell and Fox, this is the first tournament they have played since March.
“You might not be sure what to expect coming in today after the long break,” Law said after his opening round.
“I was delighted with that. It’s still a little strange, but the Tour have done a fantastic job. So far I think it’s gone really well.
“It’s a new time for us, we’re all learning and we’ll all have to get used to it. The whole week so far has been very positive.”