Date: July 31, 2009
Author: PA Sport

Senden sits second in Michigan

John Senden continued his hot form by shooting an eight-under 64 to hold outright second place behind American Steve Lowery after the opening round at the Buick Open in Michigan. Two other Australians – James Nitties and Greg Chalmers – are also in the top-10 after the first round following solid starts to the US event. Lowery posted an opening-round 63 at the par-72, 7,127-yard Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club in Grand Blanc to lead the early starters. His nine-under score was enough to hold off the afternoon wave also and Lowery will go into the second round with a one-stroke lead over Senden. He is eight ahead of world No.1 Tiger Woods, who posted a scrappy one-under 71 that featured four birdies and three bogeys on a course he has twice won and twice finished runner-up on. “Just one of those days,” Woods said. “I&aposve not only got to play well to make the cut, I&aposve got to play well to get myself back into contention too.” “I&aposve got to go low because the guys are going to continue to go low.” “This is the way the golf course is playing right now this week. It&aposs probably going to be 20-plus (under par) that&aposs going to win the tournament.” “I have to take advantage of the holes I&aposm supposed to take advantage of, a couple of the par fours, handle those and then sprinkle in a few more here and there and I&aposll come up with the number I&aposll need to come up with.” Lowery played the back nine first and made the turn at two-under before changing up a gear on his inward nine of 29 for a 10-birdie, one-bogey round of 63. “I putted obviously really well to shoot nine under, but the last nine holes I made all the putts, made seven birdies there on the last nine holes,” Lowery said. “Some of them were tap-ins, but some of them were pretty good. The one on eight was probably about 20 feet or something like that. So good combination.” Nitties, South Korea&aposs Y E Yang and Americans Vaughn Taylor and Brian Vranesh carded 65s to take a share of third place, while 2010 US Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin was one of six players a further shot back on six-under. Also shooting 66s alongside 49-year-old Pavin were fellow Americans Paul Goydos, Jeff Klauk, Troy Matteson, Chris DiMarco and Chalmers, while there were 11 players – including Aussies Marc Leishman and Rod Pampling – in a tie for 13th place at five-under, just four shots behind Lowery. At Turnberry earlier this month, Woods missed the cut for only the fifth time in his professional career, and he was embarking on a three-week stint on the PGA Tour which will take in the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational and the US PGA Championship, the final major of the year. He bogeyed the par-fours at the second and fifth, on both occasions his putting letting him down. He three-putted from inside 12 feet at the second while at the fifth, having overshot the green with his second shot he failed to convert a par putt from inside six feet. Four birdies followed in the middle of the round before a bogey sent him back again at the 15th. A missed birdie opportunity on the par-five 16th, the easiest hole on the course, did not lighten the mood and Woods came home in 71. Four birdies over his last 10 holes got England&aposs Greg Owen to four-under with an opening 68, while world No.9 Jim Furyk, the only top-10 ranked player in the field other than Woods, shot an opening, three-under 69. Fredrik Jacobson of Sweden and US Open runner-up David Duval, who is looking to make his first cut since that Bethpage Black finish in mid-June, did likewise. Scotland&aposs Martin Laird and Daniel Chopra of Sweden finished at one-under following 71s to complete the European contingent. John Daly will also have plenty of work to do if he is to avoid a second consecutive missed cut after shooting a four-over 76. Meanwhile, Argentina&aposs Tano Goya leads the Moravia Silesia Open by one from English pair John Bickerton and Steve Webster after a seven-under 65 on the European Tour&aposs return to the Czech Republic after a 12-year gap. Matthew Millar is the leading Australian at two-under – five shots behind the leader – with Kane Webber at one-under. Peter O&aposMalley and Brett Rumford are two-over.