Date: August 22, 2008

Aussies do it tough in Holland

It has been a rough start for the Australian contingent at the KLM Open in Holland as Peter Fowler, Matthew Millar and Peter O&aposMalley all found themselves seven shots adrift of leader Rolf Muntz on one-over after the opening round. In fact Marcus Fraser was worse off than the aforementioned trio as he ended the first day eight shots off the pace after he carded a two-over-par 72. Fowler started on the back nine and soon found himself two-over the card after just five holes thanks largely to a double-bogey at the 13th. However, the front nine was a little kinder to him as he managed birdies at the 2nd and 5th before bogeying the 8th. Millar&aposs four birdies were offset by three bogeys and a double-bogey at the 8th while O&aposMalley had the most eventful day of the Aussies, parring only eight holes as he helped himself to five birdies before conceding four bogeys and a double-bogey as well. Meanwhile, Justin Rose has taken another step towards winning his first Ryder Cup cap – but only after a night when he wondered if he was ever going to get to sleep. Although Dutchman Muntz was the star of the first round with a six-under-par 64, Rose is among those chasing him hard. Having pulled out of the FedEx Cup first leg in America to try to clinch his debut, the world number 12 had a bogey-free 67. “Now I&aposm looking forward to an afternoon nap,” said Rose, joint ninth at the US PGA two weeks ago. “It must have been three o&aposclock when I got to sleep – I had a coffee at dinner and there must have been rocket fuel in it.” “I wasn&apost as rested as I would have liked, but I got away with it. I didn&apost play particularly well, but I guess I managed it well.” “When you are a pro you learn how to make the most of your game when you are not tip-top.” “I&aposm really pleased – I knew coming here that there would be a lot of attention on the Ryder Cup, but I just had to try to get into the mindset of playing tournament golf.” Starting on the back nine he birdied the 11th, fourth and sixth and during monsoon-like conditions over the closing stretch scrambled brilliantly to avoid losing ground. Former British amateur champion Muntz, no longer a European Tour card holder and forced to qualify for the event, was in the first group out and avoided the worst of the weather. He still had to capitalise, of course, but did with six birdies and commented: “It&aposs awesome playing in front of your home crowd and it was a gorgeous round – the kind you plan on paper and it actually works out.” Rose lies eighth on the Ryder Cup table and therefore needs to avoid three players going past him by the end of next week. The only one of the leading candidates to score better than him was Dane Soren Hansen, currently in the 10th and last automatic spot a mere 213 pounds ($AU 454) ahead of German Martin Kaymer. Hansen, who made a late decision to enter the tournament because of the cup situation, hit back from a double-bogey on the ninth with what he called a &aposspectacular&apos inward 30 and shares second place with England&aposs John Bickerton. Oliver Wilson, lying ninth in the race and playing with Rose, led when he turned in 31, but in the end had to settle for a one-under 69. Kaymer could do no better than 72, while defending champion Ross Fisher and Nick Dougherty, currently 13th and 14th, both double-bogeyed the ninth and 10th in rounds of 70 and 73 respectively. Dougherty, last week&aposs runner-up in Sweden, lost a ball with only his second shot of the day and was disgusted with his day&aposs work. In days gone by Darren Clarke might have been in a similar mood after getting to four-under and finishing two-under. But those bogeys came in the worst of the weather on two of the toughest holes and the Ulsterman, 40 last week, still entertains hopes of a wild card from captain Nick Faldo. Competition is hotting up, though, with Paul Casey starting the FedEx Cup play-offs with a 66 in New Jersey. The 562-yard seventh, where he ran up a six, was an absolute brute into the wind. Welshman Stuart Manley took 10 and then German Marcel Siem had two penalty drops in a septuple bogey 12. The KLM Open, Round One scores, Holland (Par 70) -6: Rolf Muntz 64 -5: John Bickerton 65, Soren Hansen 65 -4: Alexander Noren 66 -3: Rafa Echenique 67, Jean-Baptiste Gonnet 67, Raphael Jacquelin 67, Simon Khan 67, Damien McGrane 67, Phillip Price 67, Justin Rose 67, Anthony Wall 67 -2: Michael Campbell (New Zealand) 68, Darren Clarke 68, Martin Erlandsson 68, Alastair Forsyth 68, Mark foster 68, Carlos Franco 68, Mathias Gronberg 68, Shiv Kapur 68, Soren Kjeldsen 68, Jose-Filipe Lima 68, Gary Orr 68, Robert Rock 68, Henrik Stenson 68, Alvaro Velasco 68 Also: -1: Gareth Paddison (New Zealand) 69 +1: Peter Fowler (Australia) 71, Matthew Millar (Australia) 71, Peter O Malley (Australia) 71 +2: Marcus Fraser (Australia) 72