Three Australians are inside the top 10 after the opening round of the Austrian Open in Vienna. Brett Rumford leads the charge after a blistering seven-under 64 saw him take a share of second place, one stroke behind England&aposs Benn Barham who equalled the lowest round of his career. Needing to climb 60 places from his present 175th to save his European Tour card, the 33-year-old from Kent shot an eight-under-par 63 to finish the opening day one in front of Scotland&aposs Scott Drummond and Rumford. Barham grabbed seven birdies and an eagle two on the 423-yard 13th, where his 150-yard approach pitched just past the flag and spun back in. “I couldn&apost quite see it drop, but the people around the green were shouting and waving so I knew it had gone in,” he said. “This time of year you have no choice – either knuckle down and play well to keep your card or go somewhere else, which I am not thinking about.” “I&aposve been playing well the last four or five weeks, so this is not a freak round.” Rumford led the Omega European Masters in Switzerland two weeks ago after a first-round 62 but fell back to 32nd there. His 64 was bogey-free, while Drummond had four successive birdies on the front nine and after a bogey on the 14th had three more in a row. Drummond is fighting for his future as well, his five-year exemption for winning the Tour&aposs flagship PGA Championship at Wentworth expiring in November. Aussie Richard Green took a share of fourth place at six-under, while Chris Gaunt is tied for eighth a shot further back. Ryder Cup Dane Soren Hansen, the only player in the world&aposs top 50 taking part, carded a four-under 67, one better than 1999 Open champion Paul Lawrie and France&aposs Jean van de Velde, runner-up to him at Carnoustie. Double Masters winner Jose Maria Olazabal, who received a late invitation, had to be content with a 70, while England&aposs Nick Dougherty shot 71 and Welshman Bradley Dredge 72.
Author: PA Sport