British Masters: Eddie Pepperell sound in mind, body and form at Close House
Watch round two from Close House on Thursday. Live coverage begins at midday on Sky Sports Golf
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 22/07/20 5:03pm
Eddie Pepperell said his improved physical health has led to a better state of mind as he reflected on a solid, opening four-under 67 at the Betfred British Masters.
Pepperell joked he was almost disqualified for the third time in seven starts at Close House, remarks that were made with tongue-in-cheek, but he also insisted his new healthy lifestyle would prevent him from making the same mental mistake that saw his Qatar Masters tournament come to a premature end in March.
The charismatic Englishman ran out of golf balls during the third round of the Turkish Open last November, and he suffered another disqualification in Doha when he signed for an incorrect scorecard, after which he declared the rules as "a fair distance from common sense".
"I almost got disqualified for not having my pencil with me," joked Pepperell, who mixed five birdies with one bogey and missed a few further chances to significantly improve his score on the back nine. "They had to give me a sanitised pencil, so that would have been an interesting disqualification."
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Pepperell's new, slimline figure is the result of what he described as an "extreme" diet in which he spent four months eating nothing but steak, liver and bone broth, but he feels in a sharper state of mind now which is somewhat of a contrast to when he initially began his diet in early March.
"I felt pretty good out there," he said. "When I look back to Qatar and my disqualification there, that was two weeks into the new diet and I was very, very fatigued. The mistake I made on the scorecard was a really strange mistake, I wouldn't make it now and I wouldn't have made it two weeks before then.
"I've come a long way in that period and my body feels pretty good. I played 18 on Monday, 14 yesterday and 18 today. I couldn't have done that a year ago, or I wouldn't have considered doing that - I'd have been in Newcastle with a glass of red wine!"
Pepperell's round was three strokes better than tournament host, Close House member and playing partner Lee Westwood, who made five birdies but littered his card with four bogeys, although he did well to limit the damage to just one dropped shot when he carved his tee shot into the right rough at the 13th and was unable to locate his ball.
"It was a bit of a struggle, I didn't really have control of my swing," said Westwood, who landed his 25th career European Tour title in Abu Dhabi in January. "I mis-clubbed a few times which is probably not acceptable being a member and the touring pro here.
"But I putted really well and ground it out. I felt like I had to make a lot of putts between four and eight feet all day, I rolled a couple of nice ones in and I think one under par is probably a really good score for the way that I played."
Asked if he felt extra pressure to make a score as he knows the layout better than anyone in the field, Westwood added: "It's not so much extra pressure, you just see the course in a different way. There are holes like the 11th where I pull driver out there all the time and bash out it out there 50 yards short of the green and pitch it on.
"But you're being a bit more cautious. I hit iron there and made bogey and I don't believe I've ever lost a ball right on 13 down the hill there. I think you just have to approach it differently with it being a tournament and it not being a club medal."