Alker joins early lead at Australian Open

BY | Australasian PGA Tour | 2002 Australian Open | Round One | 21 Nov 2002
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The Holden Australian Open began early this morning at the Victoria Golf Club in Melbourne, and the course is already living up to its reputation with no player currently below par.

New Zealand’s Steve Alker leads a group of seven players in equal first place at Even par including Nathan Green, fellow Kiwi Gareth Paddison and recent Victorian PGA winner, Craig Carmichael. Alker was one of only several players out this morning to birdie the remodelled first hole, which went from a short par-4 to a testing 188m Par-3.

Last year’s Australian Open runner-up, Scott Laycock, is currently struggling at 6 after 13 holes and will be looking for a few birdies on his way back to the clubhouse. Craig Parry was having a tough time earlier this morning with four bogeys in the first seven holes but he has steadied his game with several pars and a birdie at the par-4 11th.

Victorian Andrew Webster, who teed off in the first group this morning, currently holds the clubhouse lead at 1 (71).

Peter Lonard leads a group at 1 (10 holes), defending champion Stuart Appleby sits in equal 25th at 3 (13 holes) and Aaron Baddeley sits at 4 and in 37th place (9 holes). Victorian Heath D’Altera is the leading amateur at 1 (T6) after just four holes.

American Rich Beem, Robert Allenby, Paul Gow, Greg Chalmers, Geoff Ogilvy, Adam Scott and Stephen Leaney are amongst the 13 groups yet to tee off today.

Forecasts for the next few days are looking ominous with temperatures expected to rise across the weekend, culminating with a maximum in the early 30’s on Sunday.

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