Johor Bahru: Top ranked national amateur Gavin Kyle Green held his ground against playing partners Sergio Garcia of Spain and multiple Major winner Ernie Els of South Africa at the Iskandar Johor Open, shooting five-under through 12 holes.
The 18-year-old, who is playing on a sponsor’s invitation, showed maturity that belied his age despite trailing pace-setter Garcia by four shots in the second round of the US$2 million Asian Tour event. Els was four-under before play was suspended due to poor daylight.
It was not surprising that the highly rated amateur felt nervous as he was sandwiched between the two golfing giants but the pressure started to ease as he made three birdies to slowly climb up the leaderboard.
“It is pretty cool to play with them. On the first hole I felt nervous yesterday but I started to feel better in the round. I stayed patient and started making birdies and more birdies. It was fun after that. It was really nice and they (Sergio Garcia and Ernie Els) are really nice guys,” said Green.
Known for his big-hitting game, Green produced some exquisite tee shots where he outdrove his flight mates on several holes at the Horizon Hills Golf and Country Club.
“I took a lot of deep breaths to calm myself down. It was kind of normal today. I actually outdrove them on a few holes! That certainly eased the pressure and helped me,” said Green, who plays college golf in the University of New Mexico.