Seven players exceed expectations in Fiji 

Seven players from two countries lead the Fiji International after today’s first round played at Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course.

Australians Stephen Dartnall, Rhein Gibson and Jason Scrivener as well as China’s Minghao Wang took advantage of the early morning conditions to fire rounds of 4-under 68.

Following the afternoon’s field they were joined by Australians Andrew Dodt, David McKenzie and Jake Higginbottom.

The leaderboard congestion extends to the chasing pack where 10 players are just one shot back of the lead at 3-under the card and tied 8th.

Stephen Dartnall was happy to have fired a course record equalling round of 68 with 4-under touted as a tournament winning score early in the week.

“I think we got a bit lucky this morning with the lack of wind out there, it was perfect. It was good to take advantage of that,” said Dartnall who made just one bogey for the day.

“It wasn’t anything flashy out there it was more damage control and making pars when it was needed.”

“It’s a tough course when it’s calm but when it starts blowing I can see this thing being a beast.”

Not enjoying his first round as much was tournament drawcard Vijay Singh who finished at 1-over the card to be tied 55th on the leaderboard.

Playing in conditions severely different to that experienced in the practice round Singh found it difficult to get a handle on the greens.

“It was an interesting round; I don’t know when I last had three doubles (bogeys) in a round of golf,” said Singh.

“I am getting the hang of it but it’s hard to get the pace of the greens and the wind is in a totally different direction. I think that affected everybody.”

“It (the course) played a lot easier, I am very disappointed in my round, the way that I scored but there are three days to go.”

Zimbabwean Nick Price, playing in the afternoon field, also finished at 1-over the card but will look to take advantage of his early tee time tomorrow.

The second round of the Fiji International tees off at 6.35am tomorrow with Price teeing off at 7.35amwhile Singh will be on course at 12.05pm.

For all round 1 scores please click here.

For all round 2 tee times please click here.

Being played for a US$1 million prize purse the Fiji International will be co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour of Australasia and OneAsia.

Proudly supported by the Fijian Government, the Fiji International is expected to produce a multi-million dollar boost for the Fijian economy, in addition to flow on benefits including the growth of the game in the region.

Designed by Singh, the Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course is renowned for its sparkling backdrop of coral reefs and the Pacific Ocean that line 15 out of the 18 championship holes.

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