Lonard starts Masters defence in style - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lonard starts Masters defence in style

By Mike Hedge 04/12/2003 07:29:43 PM Comments (0)

Two-time champion Peter Lonard would have to have a better than reasonable chance to win his third Masters if the golfing form-guide means anything.

Lonard began the defence of his title with a six-under par 66 in Thursday's opening round at Huntingdale, a round that left him in a share of the lead with Queenslander Marcus Cain.

But the significant aspect for Lonard is that it was a nine-shot better score than he posted in last year's first round when he ran out a comfortable winner despite shooting 76 in the second round.

For Lonard, who also won the Masters in 1997, the key was to take his chances early and hope to squeeze through the closing holes without undoing too much of the good work.

Fortunately his outward nine was good enough to allow the theory to work.

"You've got to go as hard as you can as early as you can around here," Lonard said.

"You have to take your chances on the front nine, because the finishing holes have a habit of jumping out and grabbing you."

Lonard made five birdies in the first nine holes, reaching the turn in 31, five-under par and looking good for a handy lead.

When he got to eight under after 14, Lonard had control of the tournament.

But the combination of Huntingdale's tough closing stretch and a stiff southerly wind brought him back to the field.

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