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Andrew Dodt takes lead at Aussie PGA

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 30/11/2016 Scott Bailey

Queenslander Andrew Dodt has claimed a two-shot clubhouse lead with a seven-under-par 65 on the opening morning of the Australian PGA Championship at Royal Pines.

After starting on the back nine, Dodt birdied five times at the front of the Gold Coast course to shoot to the lead ahead of New Zealand contender Ryan Fox and the USA's Julian Suri.

Australian Adam Scott is one shot further back, with the world No.7 rallying to birdie his final three holes to finish at three under.

However, it was Dodt who made the best of the good conditions on Thursday morning, as golfers were greeted with lighter winds and soft greens aided by rain on Wednesday afternoon.

The world No.522 sunk eight birdies to overcome a bogey on the par-4 14th to shoot through the field in his first competitive round on the course.

"My caddie and I said maybe 10 under at the start of the week," he said.

"So it's nice to be seven after round one.

"I drove it well, wedged it well and putted well - it was just solid."

Fox was also confident at the end of his round after he birdied two of his final four holes to be five under.

"I think we probably got the best of the conditions," Fox said.

"Played it really solid, no bogeys today and made a couple of putts which was nice."

However, he will feel the pressure of Scott breathing down his neck following the Queenslander's hot finish to the round.

Scott eagled the par-5 12th hole after starting the day on the back nine, but then fell down the pack when he missed a par putt to bogey the 18th on the turn.

"I was just treading water for a while," Scott said.

"Cautious of going over the green in between clubs and you just have to be patient and it paid off because I birdied the last three."

Early leader Greg Chalmers is three shots off the lead after an inconsistent round to be tied for 14th.

He birdied four of his first seven holes after starting on the back nine, but finished the day at two under after three bogeys and just one more birdie.

His morning, however, was better than playing partner Curtis Luck.

The young up-and-coming amateur hit four bogeys on the front nine and is nine shots off the pace.

Lowly ranked Englishman Paul Waring was also a shock leader early on Thursday morning.

The world No.1138 hit six birdies, however two bogeys in his final five holes put him in at four under in a tie for fourth.

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