Date: July 12, 2013
Author: Omnisport

Parry leads, Fraser five back

Englishman John Parry enjoys a one-shot lead in the Scottish Open after he carded an eight-under 64 on the first day at Castle Stuart, while Australian Marcus Fraser is five shots off the pace. Parry&aposs opening round on the links-style course featured eight birdies, including one at the last, as he goes in search of only his second European Tour title win, the first coming at the Vivendi Cup in 2010. Fellow countryman Simon Khan posted 65 after finishing in style with an eagle at the 18th, with world number eight Phil Mickelson one of seven players on six under par trailing Parry by two shots. With the Scottish Open winner set to earn a place at next week s British Open, Parry – ranked 471st in the world – is determined to use Thursday s round as a platform to build on as he targets a spot in one of the most prestigious events on the golfing calendar. “My main goal this week has got to be clinching the last spot to play in The Open next week which is available to Sunday night s winner,” said Parry on his official website. “And shooting an opening round like that I have given myself the chance to get it. “It was a great feeling, if something of a shock, to find myself at the top of the Scottish Open leaderboard throughout the morning of the first round at Castle Stuart. “Playing in the second group of the day and making four birdies in the first six holes put me up there, but in windless conditions I full expected to get quickly caught. “But as the round went on, and as I compiled a stack of eight birdies my name stayed up there.” Fraser opened with a 69 to be a in a tie for 45th, one shot ahead of compatriot Richard Green. Mickelson is one of only two players inside the world s top 25 present at this year s Scottish Open, the other being South African Ernie Els, who finished level par on 72. Mickelson recovered from a poor start that saw him bogey his first hole, the 363-yard 10th, and mishit his tee shot at the next to finish six under. The highlight of the American s round was undoubtedly his eagle at the par-five 12th, with Mickelson acknowledging that he must improve on Friday to challenge for a title he missed out on in 2007 following a play-off with Gregory Havret. He said: “It&aposs an above-average round but there were opportunities to pick up three or four shots that I let go so I have to get a little sharper. “There was a good chance to go low but I&aposm pleased to get off to a good start because I&aposve got off to poor starts the last two years and been struggling to get into contention.” One shot behind the groups of players on 66 containing Mickelson, Shane Lowry, Mikko Ilonen, Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Chris Doak is defending champion Jeev Milkha Singh. Singh, who beat Francesco Molinari in a play-off last year, started his title defence with back-to-back birdies, but was left to rue three bogeys at the seventh, 15th and 17th to finish five under. Doak finished as the highest-placed Scotsman thanks to an eagle at the second and five birdies overall.