Lucky Brier happy with start in China

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.


Lifestyle

Fiann Ó Nualláin follows in the footsteps of the Fianna as he explores a province’s hills and vales.Munster marvels: Plants that are unique to a province

Cupid must be something of a motoring enthusiast, as he had most definitely steered his way in the neighbourhood when Amie Gould and Shane O’Neill met at the Rally of the Lakes 12 years ago.Wedding of the Week: Cupid steers couple to right track

When it comes to podcasting, all it takes is one idea — and who knows where it can take you.Podcast Corner: Crimes and creatures rule at Cork’s first podcast fest

Claymation meets science fiction in this enchanting film, writes Esther McCarthy.Latest Shaun adventure is out of this world

More From The Irish Examiner