x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Sweden's Edfors leads the field in Bahrain's Volvo Golf Champions

The controversial greens in Bahrain provide the main talking point after Johan Edfors takes an early lead.

Johan Edfors, the pace-setting Swede, gestures during the first round of the Volvo Golf Champions yesterday.
Johan Edfors, the pace-setting Swede, gestures during the first round of the Volvo Golf Champions yesterday.

RIFFA, Bahrain // Johan Edfors admitted it was difficult to attack the sloping greens at the Royal Golf Club despite shooting an eight-under 64 yesterday in the first round of the Volvo Golf Champions

The Swede had nine birdies at the Colin Montgomerie-designed course to take a two-stroke lead in the European Tour's debut in Bahrain. The course in Riffa has been criticised for its severe slopes on the greens, and Edfors agreed it was tough to attack the pins.

"I started on the front nine on Tuesday, my practice round, and I was a bit amazed actually," Edfors said. "They were really slopey. But they have done a great job in keeping the flags in the right positions.

"The greens look really big in the yardage book. But when you get out there and have a look at it, you can almost scrap half of the green because you can't stop [the ball)]. It's going to roll off the green anyway."

Paul Casey has given Montgomerie a warning that some unhappy players might be looking to have words with him in.

Ian Poulter described the greens as "unique", while Casey, at ninth in the world and the highest-ranked player in the field, said: "I think everybody knows Monty's going to get it in the neck this week. We've got a very good course from tee to green. It's in wonderful condition and requires great ball-striking. The greens are very severe and you're going to hear a lot from the pros maybe complaining about it.

"But ultimately we've got to figure a way round. I think the people who are going to be on the leaderboard will be those who put that to one side and don't worry about bickering about the course."

Four players were tied at 66 – Peter Hanson, Pablo Larrazabal, Francesco Molinari and Graeme Storm – while Sergio Garcia was tied with seven others at 67.

* Compiled with agency