Hot putter gives Otto Volvo China Open lead

<Hennie Otto took an early clubhouse lead of nine-under-par 63 that he would never relinquish on day one of the Volvo China Open.

Otto showed his class with seven birdies and an eagle to open up a three-shot lead over Frenchman Grégory Bourdy, Swede Peter Hanson, Finland’s Roope Kakko and Paraguay’s Fabrizio Zanotti.

He said, “Yeah I played really well today. The first hole, I saved a good par and I think that gave me momentum.  After that I hit it really close.”

After starting on the tenth, Otto birdied the 11th, 15th and 17th but did not instantly hit the top of the leaderboard as countryman Dean Burmester played the front nine in 31. Burmester went on to finish on four-under-par after carding a respectable 68.

Otto found his form as he picked up birdies on the second, third, fifth and seventh before he chipped in on the par five eighth to move clear of the rest of the field.

Otto said that apart from his good iron-play, it was his putter that really made the difference. “I broke 30 putts today. I think I had 23 putts with a chip-in. That makes a big difference. “

The Topwin Golf and Country Club is a new venue for the tournament and the players needed to adapt quickly to a course most of them have never played having only been opened in 2011.

Otto said, “Yeah it’s a nice golf course I must say. We’ve got a few courses in South Africa that have the same type of grass with all these slopes. We adapt quickly. It’s like Serengeti. I mean it’s the same greens, with all the slopes and it’s the same grass that we play on back home. “

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