November 16, 2007 – Grateful Dead fan Bryan Saltus hopes to have the UBS Hong Kong Open galleries rocking this weekend after a brilliant five-under-par 65 sent him soaring up the leaderboard on Friday (November 16).
The outgoing Californian’s effort left him on seven-under 133 and well-placed to make a run at leader Robert Karlsson of Sweden.
Saltus – who has seen legendary rock band the Grateful Dead in concert more than 150 times – finished his second round with a birdie on the par-four ninth [he began on the 10th tee] at the Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling.
He revealed he had been buoyed by the timely appearance of a friend. “My buddy showed up on the ninth hole,” he said. “He pointed at his Grateful Dead hat and I thought the ball was going in and so it did. I’ve never birdied the ninth before.
“I can’t wait to get a gallery following me around. Sometimes I’m a little out of control when I play good. If I see a friend across the fairway, I might yell at him and then wonder if I’ve actually disturbed the other players!”
Ryder Cup star Karlsson leads the UBS Hong Kong Open by four shots after back-to-back 64s left him on 12-under 128.
Former Hong Kong champion Miguel Angel Jiménez of Spain was in second at eight-under 132 after a 67 while Saltus was in a large group of nine players a shot further back.
Saltus is still searching for his first European or Asian Tour victory but can look back on good performances in Hong Kong – he recorded top-20 finishes in both 2004 and 2006.
“This is an old golf course and I like old courses,” he said. “You don’t just smoke drivers on every hole, that gets boring. Here, you have to ply your way around, move the ball left to right, back and fourth, high and low and set it up.”
Saltus, 36, a regular on the Asian Tour since 2004, ended his first round with a double-bogey six on the 18th but bounced back on Friday.
“I pretended it never happened,” he said. “I stayed positive. I had it going yesterday and knew I could do it again today. I decided to go with the flow and ride the wave.”