AUSTRIAN Markus Brier admitted he rode his luck at times but still felt he was good value for his one-stroke lead following the opening round at the Volvo China Open.
Brier, who won the tournament in 2007, carded a five-under-par 67 and holds a narrow advantage over England’s Nick Dougherty and Australian David McKenzie, with Simon Dyson and Chapchai Nirat a shot further back on three under.
The 40-year-old started strongly at Beijing CBD International GC, birdieing the 10th and 11th and overcoming a dropped shot at the 12th with another birdie at the 13th.
He picked up another shot at the 15th to reach the turn in 34 before a run of three consecutive birdies that began at the second hole and included a chip-in at the third, saw the veteran assume the lead.
“I was a bit lucky on three and four, three I chipped in and four I hit it in the rough but got a good lie and made birdie from there,” Brier admitted.
“I got good breaks today and at the end, missed a few fairways that made it tough for myself but I felt comfortable and never hit it far away — two metres, three metres in the rough — so you don’t get into too much trouble.
“I started quite well off the tee, hit a lot of early fairways and that gives you a lot of chances.
“I hit some good irons, the putter was really hot as well so that’s a good combination. I made all the crucial par saves as well and that kept the round alive.”
His day ended on a disappointing note, though, when he three-putted the ninth to drop back to five-under.
McKenzie surged up the leaderboard following an eagle at the 377-yard, par-four fifth when he holed his second shot from 102 yards. Two further birdies followed to haul the Australian firmly in contention at four under.
Dyson was also pleased with a solid 69 that featured four birdies and a bogey in his first eight holes, although he had birdie opportunities over his closing three holes that the 31-year-old could not convert.
Dyson also revealed his recent neck injury had flared up again prior to the tournament.
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