Wiesberger holds early advantage at Gleneagles after strong finish

Michael Hoey three shots off the clubhouse lead after 68

Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger in action during the first round of the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles. Photograph: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger in action during the first round of the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles. Photograph: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Thu, Aug 22, 2013, 14:28

Austria’s Bernd Weisberger closed with two birdies to take the early clubhouse lead during the first round of the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.

Weisberger didn’t drop a shot in an opening seven-under-par round of 65 that also started with two birdies at the 10th and 11th holes.

It left him one shot clear of Spain’s Ignacio Garrido and England’s Oliver Fisher, with Tom Lewis and Sweden’s Kristoffer Broberg two shots off the lead after carding 67s.

Northern Ireland’s Michael Hoey is in a group of players on four under after a 68, while Peter Lawrie opened with a 71. David Higgins opened with a level-par 72 and Gareth Shaw posted a two-over 74.

Garrido is currently 144th on the Race to Dubai with only the top 115 retaining their card for 2014 at the end of the season.

“I probably should have taken a medical exemption after being diagnosed with glandular fever but I don’t really believe in them,” Garrido said.

“When I withdrew from the event in Korea the doctor told me I should not play for three or four months but I thought I would get over it. The only medicine is rest but I was in the middle of the season.

“And it’s not like a normal illness where you feel it all the time. You wake up in the morning and feel okay but then after four holes you are exhausted.

“Finally after the Scottish Open I decided to take as much time off as it needed and now I feel strong because I have been so weak for so long.”

At 193rd, Lewis is even further down the money list than Garrido but recovered from a double bogey on his third hole of the day to card a 67.

The 22-year-old burst onto the scene with an opening 65 at Royal St George’s in 2011, the lowest score by an amateur in British Open Championship history giving him a share of the lead.

He went on to finish 30th and win the silver medal as leading amateur before turning professional and winning the Portugal Masters in just his third event in the paid ranks.

However, Lewis struggled to reproduce that form in 2012, finishing 117th on the Race to Dubai with just one top-10 finish, and his share of 30th in the Austrian Open in June this year was the only time he made the cut in 11 events.

“I’ve had three weeks off practising and it all came together today,” Lewis said.

“I felt comfortable out there even though I made a double bogey on the third and I was just cruising around.”