Pain still remains for high-flying Groom

PUBLISHED : Friday, 03 December, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 03 December, 2004, 12:00am

Adam Groom was gutted when he missed a 12-inch putt last month in Spain. That cost the Australian playing rights on the 2005 European Tour. The pain still lingers, even though he was on top of the world yesterday.

Groom, 25, is on top of the Hong Kong Open leaderboard; on top of the Ryder Cup stars; on top of six-time Major winner Nick Faldo; on top of two-time US Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal. But still the pain lingers.

'I was really gutted when I missed winning my European Tour qualifying card by one shot. I really wanted to win that berth,' said the Australian after shooting a flawless six-under-par 64 to take a one shot lead into the second round.

Finishing on top of the stars yesterday is nothing new to Groom.

As an amateur, he finished fifth in the 2002 New Zealand Open and ahead of Tiger Woods. A few months later, after playing in the Eisenhower Trophy, he turned professional.

This is his first full season on the Asian Tour and now that he has missed the opportunity of playing full-time on the European Tour, he says he has to make the most of co-sanctioned events.

'It was quite a start. I was steady all day and had no bogeys. I drove the ball well and putted well. I think my best shot of the day was at the very first hole when I made a 30-foot birdie putt. That set it all up,' said the Sydneysider.

'It feels good to be on top of the Ryder Cup stars and the other big names appearing here this week. I hope I can keep it going,' he added.

Olazabal finished three strokes behind Groom with Faldo and Paul Lawrie a further two shots adrift.