Thursday, August 22, 2013


Austrian Bernd Wiesberger and Argentine Ricardo Gonzalez took advantage of perfect scoring conditions to share the lead after the opening round of the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.

Both players carded seven under par rounds of 65 over the Centenary Course which will stage next year’s Ryder Cup to lead by one from in-form Australian Brett Rumford, Spin’s Ignacio Garrido, Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee and English trio Oliver Fisher, Ross Fisher and Mark Foster.

Wiesberger, twice a winner on The European Tour last season, came into the event in good form having made 17 consecutive cuts this season and continued to shine with three straight birdies to finish.

“I didn't make a lot of mistakes,” said the 27 year old. “I had troubles the last couple weeks driving the ball, and coming off Major Championships where you have to be very precise off the tee, I felt I had a bit more margin of error here.

“My driving is better the last couple of days, which helped a lot, and I've got shorter clubs into the greens, and I could take advantage of those.

“I came here with the feeling that I like the golf course, I like the weather, playing in these colder conditions, I think it suits me. I’m very relaxed; had last week off, so quite fresh into this tournament and that helped me.

Gonzalez has four European Tour titles to his name but the last of those came back in 2009, and the 43 year old has not had a top ten finish this season.

The highlight of his round came with a ten foot eagle at the long second, seven birdies and two bogeys also on Gonzalez’ card.

“I played very good from the tee, made some good putts, and that's why it's a good score,” he said.

“I like the course. I think the weather opened my eyes and made me take more concentration on my putter and my driver.”

Oliver Fisher would have made it a three-way tie for the lead but for a bogey at his final hole, but it was still a fine return to form for a player who has not posted a top ten finish on The European Tour since claiming his maiden title in the Czech Republic two years ago.

Afterwards the 24 year old revealed he is drawing on the experience of playing recently with golf’s latest Major Champion at The Open Championship.

Jason Dufner carded a closing 67 at Muirfield three weeks before winning at Oak Hill, and Fisher hopes his 68 that day can have a similar affect on the rest of his season.

“I played with Jason the last round, I think he shoot four under and I shoot three, and there's not a lot between,” said Fisher. “He's just gone on to finish second at Bridgestone and won the PGA, and I sat at home watching it on telly. It doesn't take a lot, the difference in the game to completely change your year or change your career, if you like.

“I’ll just keep believing and being patient. I know the golf I can play and it's just a matter of getting out there and taking a bit of responsibility I guess.”

Italian Ryder Cup star Francesco Molinari opened with a three under 69, while defending champion Paul Lawrie birdied two of the last three holes to be a shot further back.




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