Guyatt Leads Australian Masters


Little-known Matthew Guyatt fired a 7-under 65 to take a two-stroke lead after 18 holes of the Australian Masters. The PGA Tour of Australasia event began Thursday at Kingston Heath Golf Club in Melbourne.

The 37-year-old Guyatt, an Aussie who plays on the Japanese Challenge Tour, carded four birdies on the front nine and four more on the back, with his only dropped shot coming on the par-4 13th hole. His opening 65 was two shots better than the scores of defending champion Ian Poulter of England and Aussies Adam Scott and Michael Hendry.

"It was a nice day," said Guyatt. "I have never been in this position before. It's what you do all the hard work and practice for. I am not going to get ahead of myself. It's the first day of four and we all know it takes four good days to win the tournament, particularly when you look at the caliber of those guys."

The conditions were ideal for scoring, according to Poulter. "I don't think I've ever seen afternoon conditions like we had out there today," said the 36-year-old, who went a sparkling 4-0 in his matches at the 2012 Ryder Cup, leading the Europeans to victory over the Americans at Medinah Country Club near Chicago.

Poulter carded six birdies and a bogey on the par-4 16th. "You had to take advantage of it . . . Five-under is acceptable but if you play well on this golf course in conditions like we had today you'll have many birdie opportunities."

Scott, who before the tournament gave thoughtful comments to the media on why long putters shouldn't be banned (http://www.cybergolf.com/golf_news/scott_talks_again_about_possible_longputter_ban), got off to a rollicking start, posting five birdies in his first seven holes before cooling off the rest of the way with a birdie and a bogey, the latter coming on the 18th.

"Kingston Heath's defenses were down today and I felt there was a really low score out there for me today," he told reporters. "I didn't get rewarded for my play on the front nine. It's a good start but you need four good days to win.

"I just hit a few shots in there nice and close and had some chances but lipped out the putts, then missed a real short one on 18 out of frustration," Scott added. "I made a great putt on two and another good one on four then I was rolling from there. I hit a couple of nice shots and had a couple of short birdie chances too, so it was all really solid stuff."

Other scores included a 71 by 2010 U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell, who played in the same group as Scott. Australia's Jake Higginbottom shot the low-amateur round Thursday, a 4-under 68.

For complete scoring, visit http://www.pga.org.au/scores/1115.


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