Zimbabwe’s Scott Vincent made an impressive start to the US$5 million PIF Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers on Thursday shooting a first-round four-under-par 66 to finish three strokes of the lead held by Mexican Abraham Ancer.
Playing in his first tournament in almost two months, Vincent was in superb form as he went toe to toe with some of the world’s best golfers in the Asian Tour season opening event at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club.
Vincent, last year’s International Series Order of Merit winner, was naturally delighted with his start considering it has been two months since his last tournament.
He said: “Yeah, it’s a fantastic start to the year. We’ve had, what, almost two months off, so to come back and try to get back into the routines and get some good practice in, you never quite know where the game’s going to be.
“But that’s irrelevant. You just come in and hit your routines, hit your balls, and today was great. We did a lot of things really well.”
How it stands after Round 1 of the @SaudiIntlGolf ⛳https://t.co/DtzsD8m9jT #PIF_SaudiIntlGolf #whereitsAT pic.twitter.com/WwdTTRIJ3h
— Asian Tour (@asiantourgolf) February 2, 2023
The Zimbabwean was also buoyed by the fact that over the break he was able to take his baby girl Zoey home to Zimbabwe for the first time.
“It was nice to just have some good quality time with family. So that was just really good,” he added.
Vincent will begin three shots off the leads held by Ancer, who fired a seven-under-par 63.
Columbian Sebastian Munoz returned a 64 while Spain’s Sergio Garcia, South African Louis Oosthuizen and Cameron Young from the United States shot 65s – in the star-studded opening event of the season on the Asian Tour, which features 12 Major winners and eight current Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) top-50 players.
Vincent is in a three-way tie for sixth with Sadom Kaewkanjana from Thailand and another Asian Tour regular Ian Snyman from South Africa came after they carded 66s.
Defending champion Harold Varner III from the United States started well with a 69, with a group of players tied 30th.