Date: March 30, 2007

Appleby tied for lead

Australian Stuart Appleby is tied for the lead at the Houston Open after firing an opening round of six-under-par-66. Americans Kevin Sutherland and Johnson Wagner are tied with Appleby on top of the leaderboard, while a stroke further behind are six players including Justin Leonard and Bob Estes. Appleby, who won at Houston in 1999 and in 2006, got his round off to an excellent start making birdies at three of his first four holes. “That really set the theme for the day,” Appleby told Out early in the morning with relatively easy conditions, Appleby managed a further four birdies which was offset by a single bogey. “The course is there to be had,” Appleby said. “It&aposs not a difficult course in no wind.” Although not perturbed about being winless since the 2006 Houston Open, the 35-year-old admitted he has been concentrating on improving his game recently after finishing in the top 30 just once in seven starts during 2007. “I&aposm not really worried about trying to just play good every week and win,” he said. “I&aposm more worried about playing poorer golf better. That&aposs probably what today was. It wasn&apost quite right, but it was a lot better golf.” World No.5 Adam Scott is well in contention after an opening round of 69 saw him finish his round in equal 15th position and just three shots from the lead. Compatriot Stephen Leaney carded a 70 to be tied for 26th, John Senden is a further stroke adrift in a tie for 40th, while Peter Lonard shot a 72 to be in equal 61st position. New Zealander Michael Campbell had a day he would rather forget, struggling to a score of 80 to be 14 shots from the lead. Results after first round of Houston Open -6: Kevin Sutherland 66, Stuart Appleby (Australia) 66, Johnson Wagner 66 -5: Justin Leonard 67, Jeff Maggert 67, Vaughn Taylor 67, Kyle Reifers 67, Matt Hendrix 67, Bob Estes 67 -4: Lee Westwood 68, Steve Stricker 68, Tommy Armour III 68, Daniel Chopra 68, Hunter Mahan 68 -3: Rocco Mediate 69, Woody Austin 69, Paul Stankowski 69, Wes Short Jr. 69, Adam Scott (Australia) 69, Robert Garrigus 69, John Mallinger 69, Craig Bowden 69, Chris Riley 69, Ken Duke 69, Jonathan Byrd 69 Also: -2: Stephen Leaney (Australia) 70 -1: John Senden (Australia) 71 E: Peter Lonard (Australia) 72 +1: Steve Allan (Australia) 73 +2: Matthew Goggin (Australia) 74, Gavin Coles (Australia) 74 +3: Jarrod Lyle (Australia) 75 +4: Paul Gow (Australia) 76 +5: Steve Elkington (Australia) 77 +8: Michael Campbell (New Zealand) 80