Wiesberger, Gonzalez share lead in Gleneagles
GLENEAGLES, Scotland (AP) — Bernd Wiesberger of Austria and Ricardo Gonzalez of Argentina took full advantage of ideal scoring conditions to shoot 7-under 65s Thursday to share a one-shot lead after the first round of the Johnnie Walker Championship.
The 27-year-old Wiesberger capped his round with three closing birdies as he looks to make amends for losing out in a five-man play-off two years ago on the PGA Centenary course set to host next year’s Ryder Cup.
“I didn’t make a lot of mistakes,” Wiesberger said. “I had troubles the last couple of weeks driving the ball, and coming off major championships where you have to be very precise off the tee, I felt I had a bit more margin of error here.”
Gonzalez is a four-time Tour winner, but has gone four years without a victory and fallen to 352nd in the world rankings.
Six players, including the English trio of Oliver Fisher, Ross Fisher and Mark Foster, were a shot behind. The other three were Spain’s Ignacio Garrido, Australia’s Brett Rumford and Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee.
The 41-year-old Garrido is also looking for a career revival, with the last of his two Tour wins dating back to 2003.
“Six under par is good anywhere and especially around Gleneagles,” Garrido said. “Today was a day to shoot such a score as the wind wasn’t blowing that hard, and also be among the first out on fresh greens is always an advantage.”
Five players were a further shot back, including 27-year old tour rookie Kristoffer Broberg of Sweden, who won four times last season on the secondary Challenge Tour.
European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley was among those on 4 under, along with Northern Ireland’s Michael Hoey, who is playing his first event since capturing the Russian Open last month.
Itlay’s Francesco Molinari, the highest ranked player in the field at No. 42, shot a 69.