Downes on Top Down Under

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Chris Downes set the early pace Thursday and by days end was still the man to catch after the first round of the Australian Open.
 
Downes, in the fifth group out in a rainy Round 1, posted six birdies and one bogey for a 5-under-par 67 at Moonah Links on the Mornington Peninsula, which is hosting the prestigious event for the first time.
 
Its a good field and 67 is out there. I probably could have gone a little lower out there, but Ill definitely take 67, said the 23-year-old Queenslander.
 
Peter Lonard is alone in second place, one off the lead. Lonard made the turn in even par, but notched four birdies on the back for a round of 4-under 68.
 
Six players are tied for third at 3 under, including 2001 champion Stuart Appleby, Craig Parry, Richard Green, Craig Jones, David McKenzie and 2002 U.S. Amateur champion Ricky Barnes.
 
McKenzie held the tournament lead at 6 under through 15 holes, only to bogey each of his final three holes.
 
Applebys day started with four consecutive birdies out of the gates, before a bogey at the fifth. He birdied the eighth to again get to 3 under, and remained there as he offset a pair of bogeys with a pair of birdies on his second nine.
 
Other notable players include: 1999 and 2000 champion Aaron Baddeley (71); Australian PGA champion Peter Senior (71); Robert Allenby (72); defending champion Stephen Allan (72); reigning U.S. Amateur champion Nick Flanagan (77).
 
Allans day was erratic at best. He had six birdies, four bogeys and a double bogey.
 
Only two players have successfully defended their title in the last 26 years: Baddeley and Greg Norman (1996).
 
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