Watson “embarrassed” by first round 78

Watson says 19 year old Higginbottom “could darned near be my grandson”

EMIRATES AUSTRALIAN OPEN drawcard Tom Watson said he was “embarrassed” by his first round 6-over 78 and threatened to come out firing on day two at The Lakes Golf Club in Sydney.

The 63 year old American golfing icon was obviously still struggling with a cold and playing a course largely unknown to him in tricky afternoon winds, but refused to blame any of those for his round.

His own “errant” shots and failing to capitalise on four birdies were the problem, he said.

“You would expect making four birdies you wouldn’t shoot 78,” Watson said.

Watson played with defending champion Greg Chalmers (71) and 19 year old just turned pro Jake Higginbottom (74).

“He could darned near be my grandson,” Watson said. “I was impressed, he played some solid shots today.”

Watson said conditions and the “tricky” greens made it difficult but “I wasted three or four shots today I shouldn’t have wasted.”

On the observation that he had beaten Higginbottom off the tee on a number of holes Watson demured: “You didn’t see what he was hitting off the tee. I don’t have any dreams of hitting it past Jake. No, there’s no dreams. I was long when I was a kid but I am not a kid any more.

“I’m just embarrassed about the way I played. It was not up to my standards. I feel I have the golf swing in my to hit a lot of quality shots tomorrow [but] we’ll see what happens. I hope I can. I’m putting pretty well, I’m making a few putts. It really kind of boils down to iron game, that’s where I failed today, gap wedge, two irons, a couple of six irons.. you know, five bad iron shots today. That hurt my score.”

“I should be around par with four birdies, that’s what is embarrassing about it.”

Watson has an early start Friday and was hoping to work on his iron shots and get off without too much wind.

“To me, I am guessing too much. The more I play the course the better I can play, but I better get on my horse tomorrow.”

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