Steve Webster’s opening-hole albatross creates first for European Tour

It is the first time a player has opened a tournament in such a fashion

England's Steve Webster became the first player on the European Tour to open a tournament with an albatross, holing his approach at the par-five first at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters. The five-wood he used to find the hole has history, Webster posting an albatross with it at the Open d'Italia three years ago.

"It was 254 yards to the pin, slightly into the wind off the left," Webster said. "Because I carry a big crowd following me, there were about two people behind the green and one of them started jumping up and pointing down and I didn't know if it had gone over the back into the rocks or in. I got up there and he started clapping.

"I have never been three under through one before and you wonder 'is this my day or have I had all my luck on the first hole?', but I played great after that." Webster was round in 65 to close on seven under par, one behind first day pace setter George Coetzee.

"I'm busy working on my swing, so it's nice to shoot good numbers when you're busy working on stuff. But I can't wait for it to click because I might be unstoppable," said Coetzee, who was fourth in Abu Dhabi last week.

Tiger Woods is unstoppable at Torrey Pines. The world No 1 has won more times along this stretch of the California coastline in San Diego than any other course in America, eight and counting. His last major victory, the 2008 US Open came here. The Farmers Insurance Open accounts for the other seven.

His win last year, the first of five on the PGA Tour in a season that would end with his being voted the golfer of the year, was so dominant he could afford to drop four shots over the closing five holes and still win by four.

The start of his defence of the title today marks his first appearance of 2014, a year in which he hopes to close that six-year hiatus by adding the 15th major to his tally, which would leave him three short of Jack Nicklaus' record haul.

That is not the only landmark in his sights. Woods is favourite to clean up again this week, which would take him to 80 PGA Tour titles, within two of the record set by Sam Snead. It took Snead 30 years to compile that historic total. Woods has been at the coal face only 18.

Woods' 79th victory came in the first week in August at the Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone, a course he has smashed seven times. Bay Hill would be the other 18 holes he favours most, winning Arnold Palmer's event on seven occasions, also, including last year.

Next week he pitches up on the European Tour in Dubai, reversing the journey made by Phil Mickelson, who opened his season in Abu Dhabi last week. These blokes cross time zones in better shape than Dr Who. Had he not suffered a double hit in attempting a right-handed escape from beneath a bush, Mickelson would have romped home in the desert.

"I am really excited for two reasons... the two areas of my game that have not been as efficient as I would like in the last three or four years have turned into strengths," Mickelson said. "One of them is putting. I putted great last year and I had a remarkable turnaround. And the other is the driver."

The field is packed with top 20 talent, including a handful of American Ryder Cuppers past and present; Brandt Snedeker, Bubba Watson, Keegan Bradley, Hunter Mahan and Ricky Fowler.

News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Louis van Gaal would have been impressed with Darren Fletcher’s performance against LA Galaxy during Manchester United’s 7-0 victory
football
Voices
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Sport
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
News
Isis fighters travel in a vehicle as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province
i100
Life and Style
fashionLatex dresses hit the catwalk to raise awareness for HIV and Aids
Travel
travel
Life and Style
The veteran poverty campaigner Sir Bob Geldof issues a stark challenge to emerging economies at the Melbourne HIV/Aids conference
health
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and John Malkovich talk Penguins of Madagascar at Comic-Con
comic-con 2014Cumberbatch fans banned from asking about Sherlock at Comic-Con
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
filmGuardians Of The Galaxy should have taken itself a bit more seriously, writes Geoffrey Macnab
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform