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Lafeber Leads Rain-Soaked European Open

European TourSTRAFFAN, Ireland -- Maarten Lafeber of the Netherlands shot a 6-under-par 64 in persistent rain over a shortened course Thursday to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the European Open.
Niclas Fasth, Jyoti Randhawa, Robert Rock and Gregory Havret were at 65 at the K Club on a layout reduced by 653 yards because of heavy rain all week. Graeme McDowell even found a frog on the line of his putt on the last green.
'It was very much a grind out there,' Lafeber said. 'You had to keep the ball on the fairway because the rough was near unplayable and you could lose a ball there very easily.'
Former U.S. Open champion Michael Campbell shot a 68 and Colin Montgomerie was at 69. Angel Cabrera, in his first round since he won the U.S. Open last month, had a 71, as did tournament favorite Padraig Harrington.
'I'm really happy to be back on the European tour,' Cabrera said. 'But I hit a few poor shots today and I am not pleased with 1 over.'
The 18th hole was cut from a par-5 of 578 yards to a par-3 of 162 yards. Six other holes were reduced to create a par 70 instead of 72.
Argentina's Andres Romero aced the 203-yard 17th and won a car and $40,000.
'I can't wait to hit the beaches in Argentina with the roof down once I get the car shipped home,' he said.
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