Golf: Miller's trail of birdies: Lyons Open

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MIKE MILLER, who was 148th on the European money list last year and lost his Tour card, shot an eight-under-par 64 to equal the course record and lead the Lyons Open by three strokes after yesterday's first round.

Miller continued the form which had earned him second place in last week's Kronenbourg Open in Italy. There were no blemishes on the Scot's card after a round which included eight birdies. His approach play was so accurate that his longest birdie putt was 15 feet.

It has been a welcome change of fortune for Miller who finished 75th at the qualifying school in Montpellier in November and had slumped to 218 in the Tour list for tournament invitations.

Miller acted as his own caddie, pulling his clubs round on a trolley. 'I couldn't get a caddie in Italy last week and did well. So I decided to carry on pulling them round again. I know it looks awful but no one is whispering nonsense in your ear so any mistakes are your own. You have no one else to blame.'

He finished three shots ahead of a group of five players including Steven Richardson. The Ryder Cup player was in erratic form, shooting seven birdies and an eagle, but undermining his cause with a double-bogey at the third and two bogeys. His eagle came at the 512-yard sixth where he completed the hole with a drive, a seven-iron and an 18-foot putt.

LYONS OPEN Leading first-round scores (GB or Irl unless stated): 64 M Miller. 67 G Hjerstedt (Swe), P McGinley, S Richardson, C Rocca (It), P Teravainen (US). 68 G Brand Jnr, G Orr, A Pinero (Sp). 69 A Bossert (Swit), G J Brand, D Clarke, D Cooper, I Gervas (Sp), J Haeggman (Swe), A Hare, S McAllister, J Mouhica (Fr), A Murray, F Nobilo (NZ), W Riley (Aus). 70 G Cali (It), R Chapman, M Clayton (Aus), R Drummond, P Eales, M Hallberg (Swe), B Lane, A Lebouc (Fr), S Luna (Sp), P Mayo, J McGohan (US), S Rey (Swit), J Rivero (Sp), A Sherborne, J Spence, P Talbot, S Torrance, R Willison. 71 S Bowman (US), R Boxall, P Broadhurst, D Curry, A Gillner (Swe), N Godin, P Hall, D Hospital (Sp), P-U Johansson (Swe), D R Jones, L Jones, T Levet (Fr), M Mackenzie, P Mitchell, M Pendaries (Fr), A Oldcorn, J Rystrom (Swe), A Sorensen (Den), S Tinning (Den), L Vannet, C Whitelaw (SA). 72 S Bennett, M Besanceney (Fr), A Cejka (Ger), A Coltart, M Davis, P Fowler (Aus), D Gilford, C Hardin (Swe), N Kalouguine (Fr), J McHenry, M Mouland, T Pernice (US), T Planchin (Fr), P Quirici (Swit), J Quiros (Sp), G Ralph, M Sludds, F Tarnaud (Fr). Selected: 74 M James. 75 R Rafferty.