Sweden’s Rikard Karlberg took the early lead at Shanghai’s WGC-HSBC Champions on Thursday, racking up nine birdies to shoot a 64.
“It felt amazing, every part of the game,” he said. “Everything was so easy. It was just one of those days, a walk in the park.”
Not bad for his first-ever competition at the WGC level. He’s one shot ahead of American Rickie Fowler, a valuable component in the US’ Ryder Cup victory earlier this month. Fowler, despite being a top 10 player throughout 2016, hasn’t won a tournament since the Adbu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship in January 2016.
“It’s always nice to start with 7 under, doesn’t matter where you’re at,” Fowler said. “I knew with the soft conditions they were going to try to tuck some pins. It was going to be very scorable if you drove it in the fairways, and I was able to do that. Played very well tee-to-green and made things a lot easier from there. Stress-free round. Simple round.”