Sjoholm in contention despite scare

Finland's Joonas Granberg suffered a bizarre disqualification from the Hong Kong Open as Sweden's Joel Sjoholm shrugged off almost joining him in making an early exit.

Joonas Granberg

Granberg was due to tee off at 11:50am local time from the 11th hole at Hong Kong Golf Club, but initially went to the first tee before realising his mistake.

The 26-year-old then dashed to the 11th tee only to find his caddie had gone to the 10th tee - the more usual starting place for a two-tee start - instead.

That meant a missed tee time and disqualification - a fate Sjoholm was lucky to avoid.

"I set six alarm clocks this morning and woke up in desperation at 7:58am, tee time was 8:30am and we live a good 25 minutes from here so I was panicking to the tee box," Sjoholm told European Tour Radio.

"I was lucky to get a taxi pretty quickly and the European Tour helped me out big time because I showed up without any golf shoes on because they were in the locker.

"They went to the locker for me and I played the first hole in sneakers until I came up to the green when they were standing nicely there with two pairs of shoes so I could pick. It was the royal treatment!

"It felt quite awkward and when I was standing over the first tee shot I realised I hadn't even tied the laces on my sneakers, which are a half size too big as well.

"I managed to scramble a four on the first; the whole day I have just been waiting to make a bogey and it happened on the last hole. I am happy I shot minus two - I should not even be here. I am really happy at the moment. Maybe I should do it more often because it's a long time since I started that good."

Sjoholm's round of 68 left him just two shots behind clubhouse leaders Prom Meesawat of Thailand and Australia's Andrew Dodt, with Ireland's David Higgins and Italy's Andrea Pavan also four under par with five and 10 holes to play respectively.

Wales' Stuart Manley, who made headlines with a hole-in-one followed by an 11 in the World Cup in Melbourne recently, was a shot behind after a 67, while defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez was one under with six holes remaining.

Higgins, who lost his card at the end of the 2013 season, birdied the sixth and seventh before dropping a shot on the ninth, where he chipped from just right of the green off the other side and into a bunker.

But he bounced back well with a birdie on the 10th, his final hole, to card a six-under-par 64 and take over the clubhouse lead.



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