John Senden leads in Australia

Australia's Greg Chalmers chips out of a bunker on the 11th hole during the Australian Open golf tournament in Sydney.



SYDNEY — John Senden shot 6-under-par 66 in calm morning conditions to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Australian Open on Thursday.

Senden had eight birdies but back-to-back bogeys at The Lakes.

Justin Rose, who birdied three of his first four holes, is tied with Kim Felton, Brendan Jones and Richard Green and Gareth Paddison after 68s.

Senden had a consistent year on the PGA Tour, making 19 cuts from 22 events, including five top-10 finishes.

“The results have shown in the past couple of years. I have been inside the top 30 and been consistent,” Senden said. “I have taken those feelings and brought them home to Australia. I feel I can keep improving and keeping knocking on the door in every event I play.”

Adam Scott, who practiced with a new putter earlier in the week, used his old broomstick-style one on Thursday and shot 72.

Scott’s current style of putting, in which he anchors the putter to his chest, will be banned in 2016 under a proposed rule changes by golf’s governing bodies.


THAILAND GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP: In Chon Buri, Thailand, former Masters Tournament champion Charl Schwartzel shot 7-under-par 65 to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Asian Tour event.

Schwartzel made four birdies in the first seven holes and added three more in a bogey-free round at Amata Spring Country Club to hold a one-shot advantage over Thitiphun Chuayprakong.

Schwartzel says “it’s nice to put yourself in position ... I’m very happy with the way my game has started getting back.”

Daniel Chopra shot 67 to share third place with Javi Colomo.

Current Masters champion Bubba Watson, the third-ranked golfer in the world, shot 68, including an eagle and six birdies.

Defending champion Lee Westwood shot 70.


DUBAI LADIES MASTERS: In Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Shanshan Feng birdied five of her first nine holes to shoot 7-under-par 65 and take a four-stroke lead after the second round of the Ladies European Tour event.

Feng had three more birdies on the back nine at Emirates Golf Club for a total of 13-under 131.

Florentyna Parker, who shared the lead heading into the second round, shot 74.

Instead, Felicity Johnson (67) moved into second place, one stroke ahead of Caroline Masson (68), Cindy Lacrosse (69), Joanna Klatten (65) and Gwladys Nocera (68).

Defending champion Lexi Thompson (68) is another stroke back.


NELSON MANDELA CHAMPIONSHIP: In Durban, South Africa, rain washed out the first round of the 2013 European Tour season-opener at the inaugural Nelson Mandela Championship in South Africa.


SHOOTOUT: In Naples, Fla., Augusta native Charles Howell is teaming with Rory Sabbatini in the Franklin Templeton Shootout, which begins today.

There are 12 teams in the field, headed by defending champions Keegan Bradley and Brendan Steele.



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