Denmark's Daniel Nielson leads Junior Open after day one

Daniel NielsenDenmark’s Daniel Nielsen led a field of more than 120 competitors at the end of the opening day of the sixth Junior Open Championship, staged biennially by The R&A, over the links of Lundin Golf Club in Fife. Nielsen, from Frederhaven in the north of Denmark and only 14 years of age, was the only player in the field of under-16 year olds to break 70 on a day that evolved from an overcast morning, into an afternoon and early evening of brilliant sunshine.

He shot a two-under-par 69 over the 6,371yd course, highlighted by an eagle-three at the 13th, and studded with five birdies, at the second, seventh, eighth, ninth and 17th in halves of 34 and 35. There was one thing in common to three of his four bogeys - at the third, 10th and 16th - he three-putted them all. The other shot dropped was the result of a bad lie in a bunker off the tee at the 14th.

The astonishing thing about Nielsen's round is that, before yesterday he had never played links golf.

"I was playing for Denmark in the European Boys' Team Championship in Turkey last week, right up to the weekend - we finished third - and I didn't fly in to Edinburgh Airport until Sunday evening," said Daniel who has a plus-one handicap.

"I quite liked it, but the greens were so different to what I was playing on in Turkey last week. That cost me three shots.

Nielsen ended the round with a one-shot lead over Scotland's Ewan Scott, Haydn Porteous of South Africa and Welshman Otto Mand.

Early starter Mand, a 14-year-old from the Dewstow club, Monmouthshire, set the clubhouse target of 70 just before lunchtime, holdin on to the lead until 5pm, when he yielded the pole position to Nielsen. Mand had a double-bogey six at the 11th, and dropped other shots at the third and 18th, but he more than compensated for these slips with birdies at the sixth, ninth, 10th, 13th and 14th in matching halves of 35.

Porteous, who plays off plus three, was out in two-under 34 but had to settle for 36 home for a 70.

And Ewan Scott, a one-handicap junior member of St Andrews Golf club, ran up a double-bogey six after a series of mishaps at the fourth, but he did birdie the fifth, the ninth, 13th, 15th and 16th in halves of 37 and 33.

"I holed a few putts, but I took three putts from about 60ft at the last, so that was a disappointing way to finish, but, on the whole, I'm reasonably happy with the round," he said.

Emily Taylor, the last player to finish, at 8.22pm, returned a one-under-par 70, the best score, by two shots, among the girls.

Using a rescue wood instead of a driver, Emily, a 15-year-old scratch golfer who plays at Royal Lytham and St Annes, birdied the eighth, ninth 14th and 16th in halves of 36 and 34. Behind her on one-over-par totals of 72 are Cecilia Cho, a 15-year-old from New Zealand who has a handicap of plus five, and Hyo-Joo Kim, a 14-year-old one-handicapper  from Korea.

Cecilia won the Australian women's amateur stroke-play championship earlier this year and was New Zealand's women's amateur champion last year.

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