Scott labors in wild winds at Australian Masters

Thu Nov 20, 2014 2:11am EST
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By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Steven Bowditch shot a five-under 67 for a share of the lead after the first round of the Australian Masters in Melbourne on Thursday, upstaging headline act Adam Scott who struggled to cope with windy conditions.

Bowditch, who celebrated his maiden U.S. Tour win at the Texas Open in March, rolled in four birdies and an eagle in mostly foul conditions at Metropolitan Golf Club before ruing a missed tap-in putt on the 18th that cost him the outright lead.

The 31-year-old will start Friday in a four-way tie with fellow Australians Michael Wright, Stephen Allan and Todd Sinnott, with double defending champion Scott six strokes behind after laboring to a one-over 73.

"I don't know what I did on 18," Bowditch told reporters after a gloomy day that blew dust in players' faces in the morning before dousing the later groups with light rain.

"It was tough off and on ... It got really windy early, then slowed down, windy (again), changed direction.

"It can get tough out there."

Australians Rhein Gibson and Aaron Price were a stroke further adrift on four-under after shooting 68s.

World number two Scott, bidding for an unprecedented third successive title in the A$1 million ($860,000) event, fumed as hot, northerly winds in the morning turned the sandbelt course into a suburban dust-bowl.   Continued...

Adam Scott of Australia tees off on the third hole during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions golf tournament in Shanghai November 8, 2014. REUTERS/Aly Song