Downes early lead stands scrutiny and challenge

BY Bruce Young | Australasian PGA Tour | 2003 Australian Open | Round One | 18 Dec 2003
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As day one of the 2003 Australian Open winds to a close, the early leader Chris Downes looks likely to hold the lead he has enjoyed for nearly five hours today as those chasing the Queenslander in the afternoon made their moves then faded.

Richard and Nathan Green, along with Stuart Appleby came and went as potential challengers to Downes’ day one lead, but in the end it would be the 23-year-old Queenslander who would stand on top of the leaderboard.

Downes started well in this event last year, also shooting 66 in round one to be one behind Charles Howell III. He would follow with rounds of 71 and 67 to finish in 11th place but twelve months down the track Downes is a more experienced and accomplished payer with several good finishes on the Australasian Tour and a win on the Von Nida Tour at the NSW PGA Championship.

“I’m a lot more mature on the golf course knowing that one good round is not good enough. I have a lot more patience and my swing has come a long way having worked so hard with my coach Dave Nable.”

Peter Lonard’s four under 68 also stood up for most of the afternoon with a host of top line players just one further back including Ricky Barnes, Stuart Appleby, Craig Parry, Richard Green, who bogeyed the last hole to slip from a share of second.

So at the end of a day that began at 7:00 and is scheduled to end around 6:30pm, around 25 players have broken par on the course that succumbed to the benign overhead conditions. Something tells me however that she will have her way by the end of the week.

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    About the Author: Bruce Young

    A multi-award winning golf journalist, Bruce's extensive knowledge of the game comes from several years caddying the tournament circuits of the world, marketing a successful golf course design company and as one of Australia's leading golf journalists and commentators.

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