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Aussies off the pace early in Japan

(Photo: Bruce Young)
Brendan Jones and Terry Pilkadaris were the only Australians to return scores in red figures on day one of the co-sanctioned Panasonic Open in Chiba.

Both Australians signed for 2-under 69, five off the lead of American Jason Knutzon whose 7-under 64 was good enough to open a two shot lead on the field in the event co-sanctioned by the Asian and Japan Tours..

Knutzon, a 13 year veteran of the Asian Tour, lost his card in 2016 after a run of poor form but is making the most of a sponsor’s invitation to play this week’s event.

Thailand’s Udorn Duangdecha and Japan’s Satoshi Kodaira share second place at 5-under with a group of four players sharing fourth place at 4-under.

For 13 time Japan Tour winner Jones it was a slow start with two dropped shots in his first five holes to be well off the pace.

However, the 42-year-old righted the ship with birdies at the 6th and 9th to turn even par then added two more birdies on the inward half to get to red figures.

Pilkadaris was more consistent on his way to the same mark, three birdies and just one dropped shot adding up to 69 to be T16 alongside Jones.

Jones’ fellow Japan Tour member, Won Joon Lee, is next best of the Australians at even par and T36, one ahead of Kurt Barnes, Todd Sinnott and recent New Zealand Open winner Michael Hendry.

Adam Bland and Brad Kennedy both struggled in the opening round to post 3-over scores of 74 and be outside the top 100 with work to do to make the 36 hole cut.

Rod Morri
About The Author : Rod Morri

Rod is an award-winning golf journalist with more than 20 years experience and has covered everything from major tournaments to junior golf at the local level. Rod began his life in the media as a daily news reporter for News Limited in Sydney.

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