Date: June 13, 2008

Aussies struggle in France

Australian David Branson is four shots off the pace at the Saint-Omer Open on a trying day for most of his compatriots in France. Roope Kakko of Finland tamed the treacherous weather and testing course in northern France to fire a three-under-par 68 for the lead. He has a break of one shot on four players, including fellow Finn Mikko Korhonen. Branson signed for a 72 while countrymen Scott Barr (73) and Terry Pilkadaris (73) were one shot worse off. Andrew Tampion (75) is next best while veteran Peter Fowler (79) had a day to forget. Kakko did not drop a shot in his round of 68 – one of only two players, alongside Englishman John Morgan, to finish bogey-free. He fired three birdies – on the 5th, 9th and 12th – to hold sway. Korhonen had led for much of the day until Kakko snatched the lead with a birdie at the last. “It was very good because I didn&apost drop any shots,” said Kakko. “I putted well and didn&apost make many mistakes, which is a good thing in weather like this.” “The guys who went out early really had a terrible time but I started a little later, which was better. But the wind was still tricky.” “Mikko is probably a little upset because I birdied the last hole to move one shot ahead of him so I&aposll have to buy the beers tonight.” First Round Scores from the Saint-Omer Open, St Omer, France -3: Kakko Roope 68 -2: Adrian Bernadet 69, Marcus Highley 69, Mikko Korhonen 69, John Morgan 69 -1: Stephen Jeppesen 70, Jan-Are Larsen 70, Gareth Maybin 70, Eric Ramsay 70 E: Seve Benson 71, Lawrence Dodd 71, Thomas Feyrsinger 71, James Heath 71, Ben Mason 71, Cesar Monasterio 71, Gareth Paddison (New Zealand) 71, Julien Quesne 71, Alvaro Salto 71 +1: David Branson (Australia) 72, Christophe Brazillier 72, Francios Delamontagne 72, David Griffiths 72 Also: +2: Scott Barr (Australia) 73, Terry Pilkadaris (Australia) 73 +3: Steve Alker (New Zealand) 74 +4: Andrew Tampion (Australia) 75 +8: Peter Fowler (Australia) 79