Bubba Watson holds one-shot lead at stormy Shenzhen International
By Ali Stafford
Last Updated: 22/04/17 12:33am
Bubba Watson fired his lowest round of 2017 to set the pace after the opening round of a weather-affected Shenzhen International.
The world No 22, heading to China off the back of missing the cut at the Masters, recovered from an early bogey to card a six-under 66 at Genzon Golf Club and grab a one-shot lead.
Play was suspended for nearly two hours during the afternoon session due to the threat of storms, with 54 players left unable to complete their round before play was halted at 6.42pm local time.
Haydn Porteous birdied his final three holes to be part of a four-way tie for second, with Tommy Fleetwood three strokes off the pace following an opening-round 69.
Beginning on the back nine, Watson missed the green and dropped a shot at the par-three 12th but responded by birdieing three of his next three holes to reach the turn in 34.
Watson added a gain at the first and drilled his approach at the par-five next to six feet, with the eagle putt lifting him into a share of the lead.
The top seed rattled the flag with his pitch from the rough on his way to an unlikely par at the seventh, before closing his round with a two-putt birdie at the last.
"Any time you shoot six under and are in the 60s you're happy with that," Watson said. "All in all, a great day and a good start.
"I've been working so hard in trying to get more speed on the greens and getting my putter to the hole, and that's why I did better in the first couple of rounds."
Max Kieffer posted four birdies in a six-hole stretch on his back nine to join Porteous, Dean Burmester and Gregory Bourdy on five under, with Thongchai Jaidee closing his five-under 67 late in the day.
Bernd Wiesberger and Thorbjorn Olesen both sit two off the pace with two holes to play, with the first round to resume at 6.30am local time on Friday.
Watch the Shenzhen International throughout the week live on Sky Sports 4 - your home of golf