Dixon takes lead in B&H Open

Updated: 25 February 2007 08:48 IST

A 6-under par round of 66 gave David Dixon the lead in the 33rd Benson and Hedges Open at the De Vere Belfry near Birmingham, UK, on Thursday.

Dixon takes lead in B&H Open

Birmingham:

A 6-under par round of 66 gave relative unknown David Dixon the lead in the 33rd Benson and Hedges Open at the De Vere Belfry near Birmingham, UK, on Thursday. Playing in his first full season on the professional tour, the Englishman shot two eagles and took a one-stroke advantage over Ireland's Padraig Harrington, going into Friday's second round. Reigning champion Angel Cabrera of Argentina and Sweden's Henrik Stenson are tied for third place at four under par. Thursday's first round of the $1.765-million Benson and Hedges Open at the Belfry was supposed to be a reunion for the victorious European team that won the Ryder Cup on the same course last year. But the notoriously narrow fairways and a blustery wind made low scoring difficult - even for players who have won here in the past. Jose Maria Olazablal won the second of his two B&H titles in 2000, but a double bogey on the fourth hole was part of a round of 75 and the Spaniard is already nine strokes behind the leader. Ryder Cup hero Colin Montgomerie fared only slightly better, carding an even-par 72 on a day when the Scot struggled with the putter. Reigning champion Angel Cabrera, however, was not in the mood to let his title slip away without a fight - his five birdies and an eagle would have put the Argentinian in the lead but for a dropped shot on the first and a double bogey of his own on the short twelfth. His compatriot, 39 year-old Jorge Berendt was also going well at one under with three holes to play in his outward nine having teed off at the tenth. Bogeys at the 16th, 17th and 18th put him back to two over par, but Berendt battled back with three more birdies on his inward nine to grab a share of 18th place at one under after the first round. The one Ryder Cup player to come good on the day was Padraig Harrington, although the Irishman did need a slice of luck on the par five third hole as he chipped from around 80 metres - it more than wiped out a bogey on the second hole. While his teammate Darren Clarke was shooting a poor 77 and skipper Sam Torrance an embarrassing 82, Harrington went from strength to strength, adding four more birdies to card a five-under par round of 67, but it wasn't good enough to take the lead. That came from a round of 66 from England's David Dixon, who is in his first season on the European Tour. In 2001 Dixon finished the British Open as the top amateur at Royal Lytham St. Annes, but has struggled to build on that result since. (AP)



Topics : Golf
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