Senden fires early to lead 2012 Australian Open

Morning golfers were the winners today at The Lakes in Sydney.

In a blow for anyone who likes a lie in, it was obvious that playing early was the key at The Lakes in Sydney today. The morning players had the best of the conditions at The Lakes during the opening round of the 2012 Australian Open and John Senden took full advantage of them.

Senden is coming off a successful year on the PGA Tour, ranked number 38 in the world but looking for a victory to finish his year off. The 2006 Australian Open champ got off to a flyer with five birdies in his first eight holes.

“We had the perfect conditions this morning, teeing off at seven o’clock. You won’t get much of a better day. I thought there were a lot of birdies out there and there would probably be some good scores this morning. I felt good the whole round.” Senden said.

“I really tried to shoot a low number. Today was the best day to do it. It is a bit like any round in the morning. You feel you can shoot a good score in mild conditions and the golf course is in fabulous shape.”

The Lakes in Sydney is exposed to any sort of breeze and the south-easterly proved a difficult one to master, particularly on the greens where few players made any long putts of significance in the difficult afternoon conditions.

Kim Felton, Richard Green and Gareth Paddison were three other morning players who made the most of the benign early conditions and finished with a 4-under par 68 to sit two shots behind Senden.

The shot of the day went to Marcus Fraser though who grabbed a hole-in-one at the 184 metre par-3 15th. Fraser, playing in the tough afternoon conditions, saw his ball bounce several times onto the green and nestle between the edge of the hole and the flagstick.

One player who failed to master the breezy conditions at The Lakes was eight-time major winner and tournament drawcard Tom Watson. He appeared a little under the weather in a long sleeved wind jacket as he battled in the tough conditions.

There were signs of Watson’s greatness, most notably his chip to the short par-4 13th that resulted in a birdie but the good shots were ultimately few and far between.

Friday’s forecast is for similar conditions and the morning groups will be doing their best to chase down the leaders before the wind whips up again.

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