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Bond shoots 6 under to lead Austrian Open

Bond: one-shot lead after course record 66 in Austria

ATZENBRUGG, Austria (AP)—Liam Bond of Wales took advantage of improved weatherconditions in the afternoon to shoot a 6-under 66 Thursday to lead the AustrianOpen after the opening round.

Bond, who is yet to land a top-20 finish in his first year on the EuropeanTour, carded four birdies on the last five holes and seven in total to go oneshot clear of Thomas Norret, Daniel Gaunt and Joost Luiten.

“I played really well today, I didn’t miss too many shots,” Bond said. “Ihaven’t been the best with the putter on Tour this year so it was very nice tostrike the ball well and see a lot of them go in the hole.”

The 193rd-ranked Bond missed the cut in his previous five events and needs astrong finish to the season to retain his tour card. Norret and Gaunt are alsostill chasing their card for next season.

Early starters were hampered by strong winds over the course at DiamondCountry Club though Norret managed to take an early lead with 67 thanks to sevenbirdies and two bogeys.

“I hit a lot of good iron shots and holed a lot of putts,” Norret said.“It was cold this morning and the wind picked up as the day went on, but Imanaged to pick the right shots.”

Miguel Angel Jimenez, the highest ranked player in the field, shot a 73 andJohn Daly had to settle for a 74 after conditions made play difficult as theyplayed the back nine.

Three-time major champion Padraig Harrington was 2 under after seven holesbut carded four bogeys and a double bogey on his final nine holes to finish on75.

Walker Cup players Tom Lewis and Paul Cutler struggled on their professionaldebuts, with Lewis carding a 74 and Cutler a 77.

Photo by Skysports

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