By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
Bo Van Pelt wasn't quite sure what to expect this week at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions – and not because he was playing in China for the first time.
He came to Shanghai on the heels of a dominating win at the CIMB Asia Pacific Classic Malaysia where he beat Jeff Overton by six strokes. The two times he'd won previously, though, weren't exactly followed by some of his best golf.
Van Pelt tied for 64th at the 2009 RBC Canadian Open the week after he picked up his first PGA TOUR win in Milwaukee. And he missed his next two cuts after winning in Omaha in 2003 during his Nationwide Tour days.
Turns out, though, Van Pelt is off to a much better start this week at Sheshan International where his 67 left the Oklahoma State grad two strokes behind Keegan Bradley.
"My goal every year is to try to get better and try to do the best I can every time I tee it up and that's all I'm trying to do," Van Pelt said. "Obviously I wasn't expecting to shoot 23 under (in Malaysia), and very pleased.
"The two times I've won professionally, I haven't played well the following week, so obviously I'm concentrating today. ... This will probably be my last tournament of the year so want to end it on a high."
Van Pelt, who is tied with Fredrik Jacobson and Alexander Noren, started on the back nine Thursday. He bogeyed No. 12 but came back strong with three straight birdies starting at No. 14 to turn in 34. He added four more birdies and dropped just one shot to par on the front.
"Obviously happy with 5 under," Van Pelt said. "Got (off to) a
shaky start and didn't hit the ball very well the first few holes,
a hangover from yesterday, tough to play in those conditions. Made
a good birdie on the par 5 and kind of settled down and started
hitting some good shots.
"Played well from there on. I made a bad bogey on No. 3, it was a pretty easy hole. Wasn't too happy walking off that green and made a par and birdied three in a row coming in. Happy with the how I played."