February 8, 2018 / 11:08 AM / a year ago

Golf: Sizzling Rumford leads by two in title defense

Golf - Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship - Abu Dhabi Golf Club, United Arab Emirates - 21/1/16 Australia's Brett Rumford plays out of a bunker during the first round Action Images via Reuters / Paul Childs

(Reuters) - Australian Brett Rumford launched the defense of his World Super 6 title in Perth in style by grabbing a two-stroke lead at the end of the opening round of the unique event on Thursday.

The 40-year-old Perth native carded an eight-under-par 64 to stay ahead of former world number one Lee Westwood and Australian James Nitties.

Last year Rumford led from start-to-finish to win the event which features three days of strokeplay after which the top 24 advance to Sunday’s matchplay knockout phase.

“I just think there’s some golf courses just suit your eye and others don’t,” Rumford said after making 10 birdies and two bogeys in his round at the Lake Karrinyup Country Club.

“It’s not always the case but generally you find as a trend that a lot of players go back and play well when they’ve had a lot of good performances there, and this is one of them. I don’t know what it is but it definitely seems to be some kind of home course advantage.

“I’m leading, I’m inside the top 24 and that’s my only focus this week, finish inside that number. Whether I lead the qualifying again? That would be a nice bonus but it’s not my priority this week and I’m playing accordingly.”

Westwood’s opening round of 66 contained five birdies and an eagle with his only blemish coming on the eighth hole.

Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Amlan Chakraborty

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