Golf: Danny Lee and Wilkinson off pace in Illinois

By Golf By Daniel Richardson

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Danny Lee
Danny Lee

Kiwi golfers Danny Lee and Tim Wilkinson endured tough opening rounds at the John Deere Classic on the PGA Tour in Illinois.

Rotorua's Lee carded a two-over 73 yesterday to be in a share of 119th, while Wilkinson went one worse with a three-over 74 and was stuck in a tie for 136th.

Both players will probably need to go under the card today if they want to make the cut.

American Zach Johnson is part of a trio of players leading the tournament at eight-under as they set a quick pace at the TPC Deere Run course.

Meanwhile, on the second-tier Web.com Tour, Hamilton's Steven Alker made a quiet start to his Utah Championship title defence with a one-under 70.

Alker was in a share of 85th place, eight shots back from opening-round leader Andres Gonzales (-9) of the United States.

With Royal Birkdale playing tough, Kiwi golfer Lydia Ko will have been happy to sign for an even-par 72 during the opening round of the Women's British Open.

The 17-year-old looked as though she might make a charge to the top of the standings yesterday after two early birdies, but bogeys at the seventh and 10th holes saw her slip back to even par; she then went up and down again with a birdie at 16 and a bogey to finish.

The wash-up was that the North Shore product was in a share of 10th place, with a gaggle of others, four strokes back from leader Ayako Uehara (4 under).

Uehara, the world No125, started with a bogey at the par-four first, but made five birdies after that as she took a one-shot lead over American Mo Martin (3 under), while three other players shared third at two-under.

Ko, the world No2, knew accuracy would be crucial in Southport and the challenging scoring conditions added to the task.

"The course is not easy, the fairways are very tight," she said. "Bunkers come into play on every tee shot."

Ko, who has used a range of caddies this year, has veteran looper Greg Johnston on the bag this week.

"I've been working with Greg Johnston since the Walmart NW Arkansas tournament [two weeks ago] and it's turning out to be a good team."

The other Kiwi in the field, Cathryn Bristow, had a round to forget as she shot a 13-over 85 to hold a share of 142nd place in the 144-player field.

APNZ

- ROTORUA DAILY POST

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