Devenport out on his own

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The Independent Online
Paul Devenport, of New Zealand, hit an eight-under-par 63 to eclipse big names such as Colin Montgomerie and Ernie Els as he claimed the first- round lead in the Alfred Dunhill Masters in Hong Kong yesterday.

Devenport, 30, shot eight birdies to lead by one shot from South Korea's Kang Wook-Soon in the event co-sanctioned by the Australasian and Asian PGA Tours.

Devenport splits his tournament schedule between Australia and Canada but has yet to win an event, while Kang has triumphed twice this year to lead the Asian Order of Merit standings. Montgomerie, the Scot who took the European Tour title for the fourth consecutive year in Valderrama last week, recovered from an opening double-bogey for a two-under-par 69 while Els, the triple World Matchplay champion, shot 71.

"I did not make any mistakes today - it was a good solid round and I'm delighted with it," said Devenport, whose 63 was one off the course record held by Nick Faldo.

Montgomerie blamed jet-lag and the stifling heat for his stuttering round while Els, who arrived yesterday after his sixth in the rain-delayed US Tour Championship, said that he failed to find his rhythm. "I just could not get going," Els said.