Gavin Green should probably take a month off from golf more often.
It’s certainly paying off in the D+D Real Czech Masters. The University of New Mexico alum takes a one-shot lead into the second round over England’s Lee Slattery and Erik Van Rooyen of South Africa after an 8-under, bogey-free 64. The 25-year-old Malaysian is playing his first European Tour event since missing the cut in the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open.
Green didn’t head home to practice. He kicked back.
“The first few holes today, honestly I felt like I was still in holiday mode,” Green said. “I had four weeks off and was just at home and really just shut down for a few weeks.
“I’ve been enjoying myself at home the last few weeks, eating a lot, sleeping a lot and driving my car – just being a regular person as opposed to practicing all the time. I didn’t practice for two weeks so a complete shut down, just enjoying life.”
It was a sense of déjà vu for Green. He began with a 64 last year to lead the field, and ended up finishing third.
“It was obviously a really good opening round, I just kept everything in play and hit a lot of shots close to the pins so I didn’t have a hard putt. I gave myself a lot of looks at birdies and thankfully it turned out OK.
“I don’t know what it is about this place. I think the course suits me well and it helps if you hit it a little longer and a little higher. It helps to be able to stop the ball on the greens. If you get a good drive away you just have a wedge in your hand, and you can take advantage of that.”
Green is looking for his first European Tour win. He’s in good form this season, despite his MC in the Scottish. He has three top 10s, and sits 58th on the Race to Dubai. He finished 84th last year, his rookie season.
Van Rooyen is also enjoying a stellar 2019 European Tour campaign. He sits 20th in the European pecking order with four top 10s, including runner-up finishes in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters and Trophee Hassan II.
“I’m playing well and it was nice to be home for a little bit of a break the last few weeks,” the 29-year-old said. “There’s a lot of drivers here and I just love hitting driver. The greens are relatively soft at the moment after all the rain, so you can throw pretty much any iron close to the hole. You’ve got to strike the ball well, and that’s one of my strengths.
“The goal is to get a win and hopefully more than one. I think it’s been a good start to the year up until this point so we’ll just keep pushing.”
Slattery, 41, is looking for his third European Tour victory, and first since the 2015 M2M Russian Open.