Qatar Masters 2020 R1 { 717 images } Created 2 Mar 2020

Nicolai Højgaard produced a remarkable run of scoring on the back nine to take the first round lead as he looks to follow brother Rasmus into the winner's circle at the 2020 Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.

The Danish teenager announced himself on the professional stage as he finished second to Sergio Garcia at last season's KLM Open and since then he and identical twin brother Rasmus - alongside whom he won the Eisenhower Trophy and played in The 2018 Junior Ryder Cup - have been blazing a trail on the European Tour.

Rasmus came through the Qualifying School and won the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open earlier this season but it was Nicolai's time to shine at Education City Golf Club. The 18-year-old turned in one under but then made six birdies in eight holes from the tenth as he came home in 29 and hit the summit at seven under after a 64.

Dutchman Joost Luiten was a shot back, one ahead of Spaniards Jorge Campillo and Carlos Pigem, Italy's Lorenzo Gagli, Belgian Thomas Pieters, England's Andy Sullivan and Dane Jeff Winther.

Player quotes

Nicolai Hojgaard: "It was a good day. I started out slow, was playing really bad on the first four, five, six holes - I was still two under at that point but I was just playing it all over the place. My putter was just on fire today, that's the difference.

"When I came to the back nine I was hitting fairways, hitting it close and rolling the putter. You just hit the button and you keep going. I was hitting the fairway, I was hitting greens, I was getting close on the par fives.

"My putter was just the difference today. I was playing okay with the long game but I was just holing everything.

"The back nine is a bit more tricky off the tee so I would say it was more of a three wood on the back nine, I was hitting a lot of three woods and it was pretty good."

Joost Luiten: “I am absolutely pleased. Seven birdies and one dropped shot, it wasn’t really needed that dropped shot coming out of the middle of the fairway but on a golf course like this where it is really tricky on and around the greens, I was out of position, so sometimes you just have to accept the bogey. All in all, I am happy with my game.

“Yesterday and Tuesday were really bad (winds) so I didn’t do a lot of practise because you can ask yourself if it really helps if you hit into a 50 mile and hour wind on the range. So I tried to stay away from it and played the course, get to know it a bit better and it was beautiful today.

“I think on the golf course if you are in the fairway you can be pretty aggressive to the undulated greens. I hit my irons and driver beautiful today which created a lot of chances and I rolled in a couple of putts.”
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