Date: June 15, 2012
Author: Omnisport

Presnell surprises at US Open

Alistair Presnell&aposs dream run has continued at the US Open on Thursday (local time) as the Australian qualifier found himself just four strokes off the pace as the world&aposs best golfers struggled for traction in San Francisco. Having made it through a sectional qualifier in Houston last week to simply qualify for the Open, Presnell produced two birdies and two bogeys in his even-par 70 first round at the Olympic Club to be in an eight-strong group tied for seventh. Presnell&aposs efforts were made more extraordinary by the fact there are only six players ahead of him including Tiger Woods (one-under) and leader Michael Thompson, who recovered from being two over to post a four-under 66 on Thursday. Presnell is two strokes ahead of the his nearest compatriot, John Senden, who endured an inconsistent round that featured three birdies and five bogeys. Rod Pampling is in a tie for 52nd a further two strokes back at 74, one ahead of Jason Day and Aaron Baddeley, while Adam Scott, Geoff Ogilvy, Brendan Jones and surprise Aussie entrant Anthony Summers – who won the sectional qualifier in Chicago last week – all found themselves on six over after the first day, victims of the toughest test in golf. Scott&aposs day started poorly with two bogeys and just continued to get worse as he posted eight bogeys and two birdies in his round, leaving him 10 strokes off the pace set by surprise leader Thompson. Thompson, a qualifier who was runner-up at the US Amateur Championship held at The Olympic Club five years ago, used his knowledge of the course to advantage as the majority of the high-quality field failed to get going. Woods is one of five players at one-under, three shots off the pace, after managing a 69 as he continues his search for a 15th major and first since the 2008 US Open. Joining him in a tie for second are American countrymen David Toms and Nick Watney, who holed the third albatross in US Open history, as well as England&aposs Justin Rose and 2010 champion Graeme McDowell from Northern Ireland. Tied for seventh a further shot back are Americans Matt Kuchar, amateur Beau Hossler, Jason Bohn and Jim Furyk, South Korea&aposs Park JB, Swede Robert Karlsson, England&aposs Ian Poulter and Presnell. In other tournaments currently being played, Australian defending champion Matthew Zions faces a battle to retain his crown at the Saint-Omer Open after opening with a two-over 73 to be four strokes adrift of the leaders. Zions appeared well placed to be high on the leaderboard at one under after 16 holes at the French course on Thursday, but a horrendous triple bogey on the par-three 17th saw him finish the day in a tie for 46th. Zions finds himself one stroke behind compatriot Daniel Gaunt, who endured a double-bogey of his own in a one-over 72 round, while David McKenzie, the only other Australian, is a long way off the pace at five over. The opening round, however, belonged to a trio of players in Englishmen Simon Wakefield and Adam Gee, along with South Korean Shiwan Kim. The trio at the top of the leaderboard ended the opening round one stroke ahead of a three-way tie for fourth place. Spaniard Raul Quiros, Scotsman Raymond Russell and Darren Fichardt of South Africa all carded three-under rounds of 68. On the Ladies European Tour, Australian Rebecca Artis carded a career-best, eight-under-par round of 64 to take the lead on day one at the Ladies Swiss Open. Twenty-three-year-old Artis stormed home with four birdies and an eagle in her last six holes on Thursday to lead Briton Florentyna Parker by two strokes at the Golf Gerre Losone. Defending champion Diana Luna of Italy and France&aposs Barbara Genuini are a stroke further back at five under. “I&aposve shot seven under before, but not eight. It was very exciting really,” Artis said after her scorching round. Artis has not won in her three seasons on the Ladies European Tour but is now in a good position after handling the wet conditions with aplomb. Australian Stacey Keating is tied for fifth at four under, together with South Africans Lee-Anne Pace and Ashleigh Simon, Frenchwoman Virginie Lagoutte-Clement, Sweden&aposs Caroline Westrup and Italian Stefania Croce. And, at the Queen&aposs Cup in Koh Samui, Australian Adam Groom was two strokes off the pace after the first round, posting a two-under 69 as Thail veteran Boonchu Ruangkit and Filipino teenager Miguel Tabuena – 39 years younger than Boonchu – finished the first round on top with four-under 67 rounds.