BEIJING (AP) — Austria’s Markus Brier shot a 5-under 67 Thursday to take a one-shot lead after the first round of the Volvo China Open.
Brier, the 2007 champion, made seven birdies against two bogeys at the par 72, 7,321-yard Beijing CBD International Golf Club, keeping him just ahead of Australian David McKenzie and Nick Dougherty of England. McKenzie shot a dazzling 31 on the front nine before a 37 after the turn.
“I hit some great iron shots and the putter was really hot as well, which is a great combination,” Brier said. “I made all the crucial par saves as well and that really kept the round alive.”
England’s Simon Dyson, who won the tournament in 2000, was one shot further back at 3 under.
Defending champion Damien McGrane was 4 under after 13 holes, but a quadruple bogey on the par 4 14th left him even for the round.
Colin Montgomerie, in the field to get a firsthand look at his player base for the next Ryder Cup, shot a 1-over 73. The veteran Scot, Europe’s 2010 Ryder Cup captain, opened with a birdie, but had a double bogey on the ninth hole.
The $2.2 million China Open is jointly sanctioned by the European Tour and is the first tournament in the OneAsia series launched by the PGA of Australasia, the China Golf Association and the Korean Golf Association and PGA. OneAsia has been created as a rival to the established Asian Tour in a battle for control of professional golf on the continent.