Thomas Aiken’s putting has been a problem over the last few months, but every other aspect of his game was good. When he got the flat stick going on Thursday at the KLM Open it made all the difference and he went on to share fifth on three-under-par at the close of round one.
“For the last couple of weeks I’ve been hitting the ball well and having nothing happen with the putter, and that disables you from competing. I sunk a few more putts and hopefully they’ll keep dropping over the next few days,” he said.
During the round Fabrizio Zanotti was hit in the head with a ball and it caused havoc for the remaining competitors. Luckily the Italian was not badly injured and was given immediate medical attention.
“Most of us were more concerned about Fabrizio than on our rounds,” said Aiken. “Golf-wise I played great up until that point and then it was a bit slow after, because there were four groups waiting on the next tee.
“It took about two and a half hours for us to play six holes and it was tough to keep the concentration, but I played well coming in.”
The three-time European Tour winner was off to a good start with his round of 67, which left him two shots off the pace of leader and home favourite Joost Luiten.
“The golf was solid the whole day and I’m pretty happy with the round overall,” said Aiken. “It’s easier on the first day because you’re trying to get started, not get finished. Today I was showing promise and I’m looking forward to the next few days. I love this golf course and I’ve hit great shots so far.”
The world number 129 will need to keep his putter hot over the coming rounds. It’s the only aspect of his game that’s in question and if continues to hole putts then the trophy could well lie in South African hands on Sunday.
“At the Open D’Italia I hit 33 of 36 greens and shot one-under to miss the cut by one. That was frustrating to say the least. From tee to green I’m doing well and I sunk a few more putts today. Hopefully they’ll keep dropping over the next few days and I can have a chance on Sunday. I’m looking ahead to the rest of the year and there’s still a lot of golf this season and some big events coming up,” he said.