Matthias Schwab leads the British Masters

Austrian Matthias Schwab took centrestage with a 66 in the opening round of the British Masters. Shubhankar Sharma shot 73 and Ajeetesh Sandhu started with a 74.

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Matthias Schwab - Getty Images

13 May 2021: Matthias Schwab’s red-hot form continued at the British Masters hosted by Danny Willett as the Austrian fired a six under par 66 to take the lead after the first round at The Belfry.

The 26-year-old, who has three top ten finishes in his last four starts, carded three successive birdies from the 16th hole, making the turn three under par after starting from the tenth. Birdies on the second and third holes quickly followed and he took the solo lead after his seventh gain of the day on the eighth on the iconic Brabazon Course.

He sits one stroke ahead of Scotland’s Calum Hill, who carded a five under par 67 to move one stroke ahead of a group of nine golfers on four under.

Shubhankar Sharma was playing with monk like calm for twelve holes. The Indian was two-under and there wasn’t one smudge on his card. But in a sudden turn for the worse, Sharma endured three bogeys in four holes to slip back to a 73. Ajeetesh Sandhu started the week with a 74 while SSP Chawrasia was a further stroke back. Gaganjeet Bhullar had a poor start, signing on a 77.

Danny Willett, bidding to become the first winning host of the Betfred British Masters, signed for a three under par round of 69. The 2016 Masters champion recorded five birdies in his first round, securing a £5,000 donation from tournament title sponsors Betfred to Willett’s chosen charity, Prostate Cancer UK. Betfred have pledged to donate £1,000 for every birdie and £2,000 for every eagle Willett makes this week.

Player Quotes

Matthias Schwab: “I think it’s quite a good score, I’m really happy and pleased with the score but also with how I played. I had a slow start but an OK start and then had a really nice stretch from my seventh to 12th hole, played those in five under which was great.Then I got a nice birdie on eight, which was my final hole and is not an easy hole today. Overall I kept it together, one bogey and seven birdies so it’s been a really solid day.

“I don’t know exactly what I need to do to make these good weeks great weeks because if I knew I would have done that already but it’s been a solid start to the season with some really nice finishes. I couldn’t quite finish way up the leaderboard but the top tens are nice and I’m just trying to do the same going forward and hopefully it’ll just happen. I don’t think I need to change a whole lot because the game is feeling really solid.”

Calum Hill: “I think the more you put yourself in that situation the more comfortable you get, and the better you will do when in those situations. It has been good to be in there a few times and hopefully continue to do it.
“My short game today I was quite happy with, it was pretty good. 18 was a cracker and 14 – the par three – that was ridiculous and the last was really good as well. So three ones that you would hopefully on a regular day get one of them, so I have kind of nabbed two shots there.

“My putting has been gradually improving and becoming more consistent. I think I have always been quite a nice putter but sometimes it would streak, and kind of fall for a few weeks and have kind of duff events, but it is getting more solid. Davy has done a lot of work and I have seen Phil Kenyon a couple of times now and it seems we have a basis of a foundational thing to kind of work through and it is steadily improving which is nice.”

Danny Willett: “It was good, really good ball control and I gave myself a lot of chances. Didn’t quite take as many as we’d have liked, and a bit of a poor finish – my mind went wandering a little bit, which was a shame. A nice enough position with three rounds left.
“You have to realise you weren’t even there, you can’t hit that shot if the intent was right and you’ve checked it. It was one of those… I maybe didn’t get out of 17 quick enough. The tee box is forward on 18. There’s a decision there, it could easily be three wood, probably should have been three wood. I got right in the middle of hitting two shots and hit the wrong one.”

Scores after Round One:
66 M SCHWAB (AUT),
67 C HILL (SCO),
68 G MIGLIOZZI (ITA), L DE JAGER (RSA), B WIESBERGER (AUT), R BLAND (ENG), C SORDET (FRA), M PAVON (FRA), J MORRISON (ENG), J SURI (USA), M SCHMITT (GER),
69 A PAVAN (ITA), J HARDING (RSA), D BURMESTER (RSA), D WILLETT (ENG), A SULLIVAN (ENG), C WOOD (ENG), R FISHER (ENG), J STALTER (FRA), A ARNAUS (ESP), R MANSELL (ENG),
70 M KORHONEN (FIN), E PEPPERELL (ENG), A COCKERILL (CAN), R RAMSAY (SCO), A MERONK (POL), G PORTEOUS (ENG), L CANTER (ENG), C PAISLEY (ENG), D WHITNELL (ENG), J GEARY (NZL),
71 C PIGEM (ESP), J HANSEN (DEN), S KJELDSEN (DEN), M LORENZO-VERA (FRA), S GARCIA RODRIGUEZ (ESP), T OLESEN (DEN), E MOLINARI (ITA), D COUPLAND (ENG), A CA?IZARES (ESP), P ORIOL (ESP), J SMITH (ENG), A JOHNSTON (ENG), A LEVY (FRA), P LARRAZ?BAL (ESP), S V?LIM?KI (FIN), R MACINTYRE (SCO), J GONNET (FRA), S BROWN (ENG), T TREE (ENG), J VEERMAN (USA),
72 J GUERRIER (FRA), L SLATTERY (ENG), Y CHANG (KOR), M KAWAMURA (JPN), D LAW (SCO), J WINTHER (DEN), S HORSFIELD (ENG), D DIXON (ENG), S CROCKER (USA), R KARLBERG (SWE), S KIM (USA), S HEISELE (GER), P DUNNE (IRL), M SOUTHGATE (ENG), T BJ?RN (DEN), T PULKKANEN (FIN), R SCIOT-SIEGRIST (FRA), J SENIOR (ENG),