Scots delighted to stay in touch with lead at World Cup

Martin Laird in action at the World Cup at Mission Hills
Laird's bunker shot helped Scotland to a nine-under 63 on day one

Stephen Gallacher and Martin Laird were pleased to keep Scotland in touch with leaders Australia after a strong finish to the first round of the World Cup at Mission Hills in China.

Glaswegian Laird, based in Arizona, and West Lothian's Gallacher shot an impressive five-under-par back nine of 31 to share second place with the Irish team of Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell.

Both teams' nine-under 63 in Thursday's fourballs leaves them two off the lead.

"It was a great way to finish," said Gallacher.

"We were just saying we had done well and nothing had really gone for us if we could have a strong finish and Martin's chip in at 16 and his bunker shot at the last has certainly done that.

"You can't win in on day one but you can lose. It's important to stay with the pace early on and see what happens at the weekend."

Laird concurred: "It was nice. That was the only hole (16th) all day when one of us had to pick up and I got a little lucky there with my pitch going in but you always take that. It all evens out in the end.

"It was a little tricky out there in the wind. There's a long way to go but we're in a good position so far.

"It's definitely a second shot golf course with all the tiers and the greens but we both hit the ball well today."

Fourballs resumes on Saturday, with alternate shots or foursomes on days two and four.

"Fourballs is the one where you can score the lowest," added Gallacher.

"You can't practice it. There's maybe a few holes that suit one player or whatever and you've just got to work around that."

Scotland won the event in 2007, thanks to the pairing of Marc Warren and Colin Montgomerie. Italian brothers Francesco and Edoardo Molinari are the defending champions.

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