Stewart leads after windy start to Sweetspot Classic

Stewart leads after windy start to Sweetspot Classic

August 30th, 2012

Duncan Stewart holds a one-shot lead after shooting four under par on a blustery opening day of the Sweetspot Classic at Longhirst Hall Golf Club in Northumberland.

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Stewart (Grantown on Spey) signed for a 66 on the par-70 course, despite making a double bogey at the 17th. Nick James (Wenvoe Castle Golf Club) and James Ruth (St Mellion International) trail Stewart by one shot after 18 holes of the three-round PGA EuroPro Tour event.

It was a difficult day with winds approaching 30mph in the morning and just four golfers managed to complete the first round below par. The winds calmed slightly in the afternoon and Stewart, who teed off at 12:19pm, took advantage. He started well with a birdie four at the third and a three on the par-four fourth.

A further birdie followed at the 12th and he moved to four under with a two at 14. Fours at 16 and 18, both par fives, would have taken him to six under par had it not been for a double bogey six at 17. However, his 66 was still enough to give him a one-shot advantage after 18 holes.

Welshman James opened with back-to-back birdies, shooting threes at one and two, but a seven at the par-five third saw him return to level par.

A birdie at six took him back to one under and threes at 12 and 13, both par fours, took him to three under and he concluded his opening round in 67 strokes.

Ruth shot four birdies in his opening round, gaining shots at the first and sixth on the front nine, though a bogey five at eight saw him turn home one under. A third birdie came at the 11th and he concluded his round with a four on the par-five 18th to join James on three under, tied for second.

Australian Rika Batibasaga (Indoorphilly GC) was the only other player to conclude the opening round below par, having signed for a one-under 69. He endured a mixed round, with three bogeys and four birdies.

Six players are tied for fifth on level par. Longhirst Hall has traditionally provided close finishes, with both of the last two Tour events decided by play-offs.

The second round gets underway at 7:30am on Friday (August 31), after which a cut to the leading 50 players plus ties will be made ahead of Saturday’s final round.

Spectator entry is free throughout the event and live scoring is available on this website.

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