Pepperell frustrated as Qatar disqualification damages Masters hopes
Eddie Pepperell believes the manner of his disqualification from the Qatar Masters was “a fair distance away from common sense” as his hopes of qualifying for the Masters took a major blow.
Pepperell recovered from a slow start to card an opening level-par 71 at Education City Golf Club in Doha, only to be disqualified for signing for a lower score than he had taken on the 17th.
The 2018 champion’s overall score was correct, but a second disqualification in his last six European Tour events left Pepperell struggling to secure a place in the year’s first Major at Augusta National.
Pepperell began the week ranked 63rd in the world and needs to be inside the top 50 after the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play on March 30.
The 29-year-old, who was disqualified from November’s Turkish Airlines Open after running out of balls in the third round, wrote on Twitter: “My DQ today wasn’t due to me running out of balls, or hitting anyone, instead, I signed for a wrong score.
“My total, 71, was correct and I indeed signed for that. However, my partner had me down for a 5 on one hole where I made a 6, and a 4 on another, where I made 3.
“I picked him up on it and I changed the card to reflect the fact I actually made a 6 on hole 11 as opposed to a 5, and a 3 on hole 16 as opposed to a 4.
“I then however mistakenly changed the 17th hole, not the 16th hole on my scorecard, and handed it in. Therefore this meant I was disqualified.
“Quite disappointing as I actually took the time to change the original error, only to make a costlier one myself. I asked the referee if this had any bearing on my disqualification but it didn’t.
“The rules are the rules and I 100% accept that, but I can’t help feeling that this particular way of disqualification is a fair distance away from common sense, and that’s also disappointing.
“I enjoyed the course however and hopefully next time I’ll do a better job.”
Denmark’s Nicolai Hojgaard also enjoyed the new venue following a switch from Doha Golf Club, the 18-year-old carding nine birdies and two bogeys in an opening 64 to lead by one shot from Joost Luiten of the Netherlands.
Hojgaard, whose twin brother Rasmus won the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open in December, reached the turn in one under par and birdied six holes in a row from the 10th. Another birdie on the 17th was followed by a bogey on the last.
“It was a good day,” Hojgaard told Sky Sports. “Started out slow, I was playing really bad on the first four, five, six holes and was still actually two under at that point but I was all over the place and my putter was just on fire today.”
Five dropped shots over his closing seven holes ruined a great start to Cormac Sharvin’s first round after he had made it to four under after 11 holes.
The Ardglass golfer carded a hat-trick of birdies from the 13th hole after starting on the 10th and a birdie on the par-five second hole brought him to four under.
Back-to-back bogeys on the third and fourth holes were his first of the day, and he picked up a further birdie on the par-five sixth before closing with a hat-trick of dropped shots saw him sign for a level-par 71.
Jonathan Caldwell also struggled late on in his opening round, carding bogeys on three of his final holes in an opening three-over 74, while Paris-based Irish amateur Michael Young undid a birdie-birdie start with two triple-bogeys on his front nine in a seven-over-par 78.
• Culled from irishtimes.com.