Short-hitter Clark delighted with Shanghai start

Thu Nov 6, 2014 5:06am EST
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By Andrew Both

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - South African Tim Clark is ready to put his feet up and relax for a month or two, but he would like to pick up a World Golf Championships title before he does.

This week’s $8.5 million WGC-HSBC Champions is Clark’s final event of 2014, and he made a fine start with a three-under-par 69 that left him only two strokes behind leader Graeme McDowell after the first round at Sheshan on Thursday.

"You want to end the season well (and) this all counts for us for next year so there's a lot of incentive,” Clark told reporters. "This is a really big tournament and it's nice to be in the mix right now."

The tournament is part of the 2014-15 schedule on the U.S. PGA Tour schedule, where Clark plays most of his golf.

He is renowned as a straight hitter, so he should be right at home this week on a course with penal rough waiting to gobble up errant shots, though some of the longer holes tested him to the max.

“Today was tough,” said the man who won the Canadian Open in July. “When it's a little bit cold and windy like it was, the course played extremely long.

“I hit a lot of woods and hybrids and just really tried to make sure I hit the fairway. It's a rather long course for me, so I was pretty happy with what I was able to do today.”

(Editing by Patrick Johnston)

Jul 27, 2014; Ile Bizard, Quebec, CAN; Tim Clark tees off the 12th hole during the Final round of the RBC Canadian Open at Royal Montreal GC - Blue Course. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports