Alejandro Canizares shot a 7-under-par 65 Thursday to share a one-stroke lead with Michael Hendry after the opening round of the Perth International.
Canizares had seven birdies in a bogey-free round at Lake Karrinyup to take the early lead before Hendry put together five birdies on his second nine to join him. Emiliano Grillo was one stroke behind the leaders, with Paul Casey and Andrew Johnson another shot back at 67 in the event sanctioned by the European Tour and PGA Tour of Australasia.
Charl Schwartzel and Jason Dufner finished tied for 29th with 16 other players at 1 under.
Canizares, who won the last of his five European Tour titles in 2006, chipped in at the short No. 8 for his fourth and final birdie of the front nine. He then made three on the back nine.
”It was a good round,” the Spaniard said. ”I hit the ball really well and made some putts, so I’m really happy.
”I played pretty steady the whole round and gave myself plenty of chances. I think I only missed two greens in the whole round.”
The 574th-ranked Hendry of New Zealand, who conceded just one bogey in his round of eight birdies, has missed five straight cuts on the Australasian PGA and OneAsia tours since winning the NZ PGA Pro-Am Championship earlier this year.
”When you’re playing bad and you’re spending lots of money to get to events and not getting a lot of return on that investment, it does put a lot of pressure on you to play well,” Hendry said.
Grillo is enjoying a strong debut season with a best finish a 10th in Austria. He is in 112th place in The Race to Dubai standings, and a good finish in Perth could secure his European playing rights for 2013.
”I hit a lot of fairways out there, that’s very important on this golf course, and a lot of greens. And then the ones that I missed, I got up and down,” Grillo said of his bogey-free round. ”So it was a good round overall.
”There are not many tournaments left, so I’m trying to make as much ground as I can this week.”
Casey continues to rediscover his form after dislocating his right shoulder in a snowboarding accident after the end of last season.
”I played wonderful golf today,” Casey said. ”I’m really happy with 67. I thought the golf course would be trickier this afternoon … I wasn’t out this morning, but I’m going to assume it was slightly trickier this afternoon. Tee to green was beautiful, and I’m ecstatic with the number of birdie chances I had.”