Date: June 05, 2015
Author: Martin Blake

Three Aussies in mix in Ohio

Three Australians have made solid starts to the Memorial tournament at Jack Nicklaus' Muirfield Village in Ohio, with one giving himself a chance of pushing himself into the field for the United States Open.

Steven Bowditch's opening 69 was a fine effort in backing up from his win at the Byron Nelson last weekend, and he is just five shots back from the lead through the first round, along with Victorian Marc Leishman and Western Australia's Greg Chalmers.

Bowditch' world ranking has jumped to 65th, and he needs only to jump into the top 60 over the next few weeks to earn a place in the field for the US Open at Chambers Bay. In other words, a strong finish in Ohio this week would do the trick for the 31-year-old, who has never competed in a US Open.

American Bo Van Pelt and Japan's Hideki Matsuyama lead after opening 64s while of the other Australians, John Senden and Matt Jones (71) and Jason Day (72) were steady while Cameron Smith (74) has given himself a task.

Former World No. 1 Tiger Woods had an opening 73 that included three bogeys from his first four holes as he struggled with rust after a break away from the game. But Woods revealed his competitive juices were flowing; he bolted through the front nine in 33 after taking 40 for the back, including a double bogey six at the 18th.

Woods is tied-85th, 10 shots from the lead. “I can hit it either way, we have to fix that,' he said afterwards.

At the LPGA's Manulife Classic  Minjee Lee and Sarah Kemp are closest of the Aussies after carding opening scores of 69 in Ontario, Canada. But they are a long way back from Cheyenne Woods and Christie Kerr, a pair of Americans who shot 63s.

Veteran Karrie Webb is farther back after beginning with an even-par 72. The LPGA's second major of the season, the Women's PGA Championship, is looming next week.