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Bond leads in Austria

Welshman Liam Bond was the surprise leader on five under after the first round of the Austrian Golf Open at Atzenbrugg as professional debutants Tom Lewis and Paul Cutler both found the going tough.

Lewis and Cutler were part of the European Walker Cup team who beat their American rivals earlier this month before making the decision to leave their amateur days behind them.

Lewis bogeyed two of his first five holes at Diamond Country Club and ending his round with a two-over total of 74 and Northern Irishman Cutler fared even worse, managing only one birdie in a round of five over par that included a double-bogey seven at the seventh.

Their fellow Walker Cup team-mate Andy Sullivan fared better, the Englishman recovering from a double bogey at the first to post a level-par score of 72.

The 41-year-old Bond finally came through Qualifying School last year at the 16th attempt having looked set to achieve the feat 12 months previously only to bogey his final two holes.

He has not pulled up any trees at the higher level thus far, with five successive missed cuts prior to this week, and another trip to Qualifying School beckons unless he can achieve some much-improved results and he gave himself the perfect chance to do just that after a six-under-par 66 today, which featured only one bogey and saw him finish with four birdies in his last five holes.

Bond leads by one shot from Australian Daniel Gaunt, Joost Luiten of Holland and Dane Thomas Norret, who was out in front for much of the day thanks to his 67.

It was not such a good day for some of the more famous names in the tournament, with Padraig Harrington's new swing not helping him arrest his slump in form as the three-time Major winner had to settle for a three-over 75.

The back nine was where the problems lay for the Irishman, who racked up four bogeys and a double bogey to come home in 40.

Flamboyant American John Daly came to grief on the front nine, slipping from four under to two over, while defending champion Jose Manuel Lara posted a 75 and fellow Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez a 73.


From Belfast Telegraph