LONDON (Reuters) – Scotland’s David Law claimed the early lead in the British Masters on Wednesday as the European Tour resumed after the coronavirus pandemic shutdown.
Law carded a sizzling seven-under 64 on the Close House course near Newcastle that has become a bio-bubble for the week with players adhering to strict health protocols.
The 1.12 million pounds ($1.43 million) tournament is the first of six events in a UK Swing over the coming weeks, all of them being held without spectators.
Law, who led by a shot from England’s Oliver Fisher and Italian Renato Paratore, said it had felt strange to be back out competing after such a long lay-off.
“You weren’t really sure what to expect after the long break but I was delighted with that,” he said.
“It is still a little strange but the Tour have done a fantastic job, it’s gone really well so far — it’s a new thing for us, for everyone, we are all learning. I think on the whole the week so far has been really positive.”
Players had to undergo nasal swabs before being allowed inside the bubble, while contact between the players both on and off the course is kept to an absolute minimum with each player assigned a “buddy” for the week, namely their caddy.
Fisher said he was delighted with his 65 but admitted the protocols on arriving at the course were unsettling.
“I’ve never had anything stuck so far up my nose before. I felt a bit violated,” he said. “But there are a lot of things to enjoy at the moment and hopefully we can all continue to social distance and follow the protocols.
“We’ve all got to go through the testing and touch wood we can all stay healthy.”
The resumption of tournaments on the PGA Tour got off to a rocky start last month with several positive COVID-19 tests.
($1 = 0.7851 pounds)
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis)