James Busby shot an opening round 66 to lead by two strokes at six under par in The PartyPoker.com International Open at Fairmont St Andrews in the final event on the 2009 PGA EuroPro Tour before the Tour Championship.
Busby (The Shropshire – pictured) sits in eighth spot on the Order of Merit and seven birdies in a devastating burst over eight holes saw him shoot a six under round in Scotland. Busby has been in hot form in the second part of 2009, winning The Pandora Open on the EuroPro Tour in August at Burhill GC and more recently winning Stage One of European Tour Qualifying School at Chart Hills. He began on the back nine with four pars but picked up four birdies in the last five holes before picking up three more birdies from the first hole – his tenth – to move to seven under, dropping his only shot at the fifth hole to finish with a 66.
Five players sit two strokes behind Busby including second placed Order of Merit man Tom Haylock and Daniel Gaunt – with the latter stringing together a fantastic late run to rescue his round. Gaunt (Burhill GC) was level at the turn after starting on the back nine, but a double bogey and a bogey at the first and second holes left him three over par with seven holes to play. The Australian rallied brilliantly though, with an eagle at the third followed by five consecutive birdies to see him finish with a round of 68. Haylock (Ground Construction Ltd) was also level at the turn after starting on the back nine and picked up back-to-back birdies at three and four then eight and nine in his round of 68.
Daniel Brooks (Mill Hill) is in third spot on the money list and like Haylock had a pair of birdies in his closing two holes to thank for his 68, while Lloyd Saltman (Aegon) and Stephen Grant (Grant Engineering) picked up six and seven birdies respectively to sit at four under after the opening day.
Craig Lee, Michael Collins (Mallow Golf Range), James Gill (New Zealand) and former world number one amateur Scott Arnold are one stroke further behind after three under rounds of 69 – themselves one shot ahead of a quartet on two under par.
Former Ryder Cup star Ronan Rafferty enjoyed a solid opening round with a solitary birdie enough to see him finish with a round of 71. David Clark (Morpeth GC) would have liked some of Rafferty’s experience to have rubbed off on him, going through the turn at five under par but taking eight on the par four tenth then picking up four more bogeys in a round of 75.
The second round of The PartyPoker.com International Open from Fairmont St Andrews begins at 7.50am on Thursday morning, with live scoring available on the homepage via the Score Updates link, where you can also find the full Leaderboard from the opening round.
Date Posted: 07/09/09, 7.50pm