Grif­fin takes 1st-round lead at Aus­tralian Open

The Pak Banker - - International3 -

SYD­NEY: Matthew Grif­fin shot a 7-un­der 65 Thurs­day to take a one-stroke lead af­ter the first round of the Aus­tralian Open at The Lakes.

Grif­fin, whose long­time cad­die Peter Beck died sud­denly about a month ago, had seven birdies on some for­giv­ing greens af­ter a large amount of rain fell on the course the pre­vi­ous day.

He had a one-stroke lead over John Senden and was two strokes ahead of Alis­tair Presnell.

Aus­tralian Masters cham­pion Stu­art Ap­pleby, Geoff Ogilvy, Peter Se­nior, Marc Leish­man and Rod Pam­pling - all Aus­tralians - were among a group of nine play­ers at 4 un­der. Amer­i­can John Daly held a share of 13th place af­ter card­ing 69, while five-time cham­pion Greg Nor­man opened with a 74.

Daly said the course, which had un­der­gone a num­ber of changes - trees re­moved for a more ex­posed front nine, and more un­du­la­tions on the greens - played well.

"The course is in great shape," Daly said. "The fair­ways are per­fect, it didn't even look like it rained. It's a trib­ute to how they re­did the ir­ri­ga­tion here.

"I don't have mud on my shoes or any­thing," he said. "That's pretty im­pres­sive af­ter all the rain we've had."

Nor­man set up a birdie at the par-5 14th hole from an un­likely po­si­tion. From out of the sand and with an awk­ward stance, Nor­man hit a res­cue club about 200 yards over the wa­ter and two-putted for birdie, draw­ing ap­plause from play­ing part­ner and 2011 Pres­i­dents Cup ri­val cap­tain Fred Cou­ples, who shot a 72.

But Nor­man had a dou­ble­bo­gey seven at the eighth, his 17th hole of the day. Grif­fin had no such prob­lem. "Al­most the most pleas­ing thing is not hav­ing any bo­geys," Grif­fin said. "Stand­ing over the lit­tle three-footer at the last, I was re­ally feel­ing it. -Ap

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