Date: May 02, 2008

Flanagan starts well

Young Australian golfer Nick Flanagan is just two shots off the lead after the opening round of the Wachovia Championship in North Carolina. Flanagan&aposs round of 69 included six birdies and three bogeys, with the New South Welshman tied for fourth place behind American David Toms. Toms, on the comeback trail after missing a month with injury, showed glimpses of his old self to grab a one-stroke lead after the first round. Toms, the 2003 champion, made a fine start in perfect morning conditions, picking up four strokes on his outward nine on his way to a five-under-par 67 at Quail Hollow. “It does feel good to play solid golf again,” said Toms, whose closest pursuers were Phil Mickelson and Jason Bohn, with Zach Johnson and Flanagan among a large group two shots adrift. “It gives me a little bit of confidence. I hit a lot of great shots today, so it wasn&apost like it was a fluke round.” “If I hit my driver better, I could have had a great round, because I hit a lot of great iron shots.” Toms and his two closest pursuers all played in the morning, with 69 the best score in the afternoon half of the field. Australian trio Geoff Ogilvy, Robert Allenby and Stephen Leaney fired two-under-par rounds of 70, while compatriots Nick O&aposHern, Mathew Goggin and Rod Pampling are a further stroke adrift in equal 24th place. It was not a great day for Adam Scott, last week&aposs Byron Nelson Championship winner, who made three consecutive bogeys around the turn and in the end was reasonably happy to salvage a 72. “I hit a couple of loose shots, two in the water,” he said. Scott&aposs score was better than most on a day when the field averaged 72.9 strokes. And it is only likely to get more difficult over the next couple of days as the course dries out after torrential rain earlier in the week. First Round Scores from the Wachovia Championship -5: David Toms 67 -4: Jason Bohn 68, Phil Mickelson 68 -3: John Merrick 68, Vaughn Taylor 69, Zach Johnson 69, Nick Flanagan (Australia) 69, Camilo Villegas 69, Ben Curtis 69, Stephen Ames 69, Jeff Quinney 69, Steve Marino 69 -2: Geoff Ogilivy (Australia) 70, Vijay Singh 70, Jay Williamson 70, Stephen Leaney (Australia) 70, Brad Adamonis 70, James Driscoll 70, Rory Sabbatini 70, Steve Lowery 70 Also: -2: Robert Allenby (Australia) 70 -1 Nick O Hern (Australia) 71, Matthew Goggin (Australia) 71 E: Adam Scott (Australia) 72, John Senden (Australia) 72 1: Aaron Baddeley (Australia) 73, Nathan Green (Australia) 73, Matt Jones (Australia) 73, Peter Lonard (Australia) 75, Stuart Appleby (Australia) 76, Brett Rumford (Australia) 76, Mark Hensby (Australia) 78 3: Tim Wilkinson (new Zealand) 75