Date: November 14, 2013
Author: Omnisport

Cullen takes early Masters lead

Adelaide native Nick Cullen has grabbed an impressive two-stroke lead at the Australian Masters after the first round&aposs play at Royal Melbourne Golf Club on Thursday. Cullen fired an action-packed six-under-par 65 – which included six birdies, an eagle on the 11th hole and two bogeys – to be the sole owner of first place. The 28-year-old holds a two-stroke buffer ahead of recently-crowned Australian PGA champion Adam Scott and Germany&aposs Maximilian Kieffer who are both equal second on four under. Scott made a steady start after beginning his round at the 11th hole, managing just one birdie in his first eight holes in chilly but benign conditions. But he brought the adoring galleries to their feet with four birdies in a row on the par-four 1st, par-five 2nd, par-three 3rd and par-four 4th before a bogey on the 8th, his only blemish for the day, took the sheen off a near-faultless opening round for him. Kieffer didn&apost put a foot wrong on Thursday, with his first 18 holes including two birdies and an eagle at 15. A shot further back from Scott and Kieffer is a group of eight competitors all on three under in a tie for fourth spot. They are Australians Anthony Brown, Stephen Leaney, Peter O&aposMalley, Brody Ninyette, Brett Rankin and Nathan Holman, New Zealander Ryan Fox and Zimbabwean Brendon De Jonge. Scott&aposs main tournament rival, American world number eight Matt Kuchar, carded an even-par 71 to be equal 29th. Leukaemia survivor Jarrod Lyle made an emotional return to golf when he teed off at 12.30pm (AEDT) in front of his hometown fans. The Victorian ended the day one over par and in a share of 38th spot after shooting a 72.