Date: June 27, 2008

Leaney keeps leaders in sight

Unheralded Stephen Leaney is right in the mix after firing a five-under 67 to hold a share of 10th place after the first round of the Buick Open. The Australian is three shots behind American trio Corey Pavin, Bo Van Pelt and Dudley Hart, who shot bogey-free eight-under-par opening rounds to share the lead. Fellow Aussies Mathew Goggin and Nick O&aposHern are at four-under-par, while Steve Allan is a further stroke back. Searching for his first title since the 2006 season, Pavin parred the first four holes before carding a birdie on six of his next eight holes at the Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club. Van Pelt, who is still searching for his first championship on the PGA Tour, recorded six birdies and eagled the par-five seventh hole to earn a share of the lead. “I had a couple of good rounds here,” said Van Pelt. “I think two years ago, I was in pretty good shape after two days and didn&apost play very well on the weekend. And I&aposve had some good rounds. I haven&apost carried it forward through all four days.” “And I like the golf course. And I grew up in Indiana, a small town, and played a lot of golf courses that looked similar to this. And so it&aposs kind of good to get back to familiar surroundings.” Briny Baird, who also played bogey-free on Thursday, is tied with Sweden&aposs Daniel Chopra, the winner of the season-opening Mercedes-Benz championship, at seven-under. “It&aposs been the best start I&aposve had since then,” said Chopra, referring to the Mercedes. “Probably the lowest round I&aposve had on tour since then.” “Keep in mind, though, the golf courses I have played on since then have been extremely difficult. I&aposve kind of picked my events a little bit more this year and chosen some of the more elite events. And in doing that you&aposre playing on extremely difficult golf courses. And it&aposs been a fun year that way.” Canadian Jon Mills, England&aposs Kenneth Ferrie, Woody Austin and Japan&aposs Shigeki Maruyama are all tied at six-under. Of the other Australians in the field, Brett Rumford, Andrew Buckle, Matt Jones and Peter Lonard are in a large group of players at two-under, while Rod Pampling, Gavin Coles and New Zealander Tim Wilkinson are at one-under. Nick Flanagan and John Senden fired even-par rounds, but Nathan Green, David Lutterus and Jason Day will need to do something dramatic in their second rounds to stay in touch with the leaders after shooting one-over 73s. Rocco Mediate, the US Open runner-up, struggled down the stretch and was forced to settle for a one-under 71. Playing in his first event since his heartbreaking 19-hole play-off loss to Tiger Woods, Mediate bogeyed 11, 15 and 17 to fall into a tie for 47th place. “I need some rest. I haven&apost been able to get some rest,” said Mediate. “I&aposll get it. I&aposm not complaining. I just need to get some rest.”