O'Malley leads Asian Open
The Australian has a slim one-stroke lead after the first round in Shanghai.
Last Modified: 24 Apr 2008 11:27 GMT

Australia's Peter O'Malley is aiming for his first European Tour win in seven years [GALLO/GETTY]

Australia's Peter O'Malley shot a first-round 67 to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Asian Open in Shanghai.
The 42-year-old carded six birdies to overhaul morning leaders Henrik Stenson of Sweden, Finland's Mikko Ilonen, Briton Oliver Wilson and Jeev Milkha Singh of India, in sunny conditions at the Tomson Shanghai Pudong Golf Course.
"I played really well, I haven't played like that lately," O'Malley told reporters.

"I drove the ball well, I hit every fairway, I can't really fault anything today."

After picking up four birdies and a bogey in his first nine holes, O'Malley took the lead in style, sinking a 45-foot putt on the par-four sixth, his 15th hole, giving him an early chance of clinching his first European Tour win in seven years.

"I drove the ball well, I hit every fairway, I can't really fault anything today."

Peter O'Malley
Stenson, world number 13, got off to a flying start with four birdies in his first seven holes, and finished strongly with a birdie on his last hole after two mid-round bogeys.

The Swede, currently second on the European order of merit, will be keen to make amends after losing to Spain's Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano in a play-off at this tournament two years ago.

"Obviously you don't want to bring back the memories of how it felt five minutes after losing a play-off, but I enjoy myself here," Stenson said.

Putting saves Singh

Singh, 2006 Asian order of merit champion, said his putter made up for a few wayward tee-shots in a five-birdie round only marred by a dropped shot on the sixth, his 15th hole.

"I would prefer good putting to good ball striking any day," Singh told reporters at the $2.3 million European and Asian Tour co-sanctioned event.

Australia's Scott Hend, who in the morning raced into first place with an eagle on the par-five second, now trails the leaders by two strokes after a disappointing double bogey towards the end of the round to card a three-under 69.

Michael Campbell, 2005 US Open champion of New Zealand, and Australia's Greg Norman are among a clutch of players four strokes off the pace after posting one-under 71s.

Norman, making a rare European Tour performance, was unhappy with a mix of three birdies and two bogies.

"There was a bit of rust in concentration, two bad club selections, which you should never do," Norman said.

Retief Goosen, two-time US Open champion, overcame a horror start to finish five off the pace on even par, holing four birdies to cancel out four bogies in his first seven holes.

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