Under pressure, Hedblom shares lead in Perth
PERTH, Australia (AP) — Needing a win to retain his European Tour card, Peter Hedblom started in cool, calm fashion Thursday by shooting a 4-under 68 for a share of the lead with Jin Jeong of South Korea and two Australians after the first round of the Perth International.
“You have nothing to hold back. You have to go for everything,” the 43-year-old Swede said after a round containing six birdies and two bogeys. “The game didn’t feel that good, but I kept the ball in the fairways.
“I hit a few bad ones and I was lucky to bounce in the fairway. But a solid start.”
Hedblom, Jeong and Australians James Nitties and Clint Rice have a one-stroke buffer over a group of eight players including Dustin Johnson, European Tour players Sam Little and Bjorn Akesson and Australia’s Nick O’Hern.
Defending champion Bo van Pelt was a stroke further behind.
“It’s a golf course where you need to shoot 3 or 4 under each day. Then maybe have a good day where you shoot 6 or 7 under,” Johnson said of the Lake Karrinyup Country Club setup. “I think I’ve got a pretty good game plan for the golf course.”
The highlight of Jeong’s round was an eagle at the 406-meter, par-4 18th — his ninth hole.
“I hit 6-iron from 167 meters — I didn’t think it was going to be in but I hit a pretty good shot ... heard people cheering,” Jeong said. “If I play well like today, I can be top of the leaderboard as well.”