Golf: Mitchell cannot beat the clock

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PETER MITCHELL missed out on a course record and a share of the lead by seconds in the first round of the Peugeot French Open in Paris yesterday. Mitchell had a 66, five under par, which included two penalty strokes for being fractionally late on the tee.

'For the first time I misread my start time,' the 35-year-old from Kent said. Instead, David Williams, from Hertfordshire, set the pace with a 64, a record over Le Golf National course.

'I was on the practice putting green when I saw I was off at 1.20pm and not 1.30,' Mitchell said. 'It was 1.19 at the time.' The first tee was 300 yards away and Mitchell jumped on the buggy of a tournament official and asked him to race to the tee.

'I didn't miss my turn but after three holes I was told it was a two-shot penalty,' Mitchell said. 'It was my own fault. I might easily have been five minutes late and been disqualified.'

Mitchell three-putted the first green for a triple-bogey seven, but then started a remarkable run by sinking a bunker shot for an eagle three on the third. He birdied the fourth, sixth and ninth and followed further birdies on the 12th and 13th with a second eagle at the 14th.

PEUGEOT FRENCH OPEN (Paris) Leading first- round scores (GB or Ire unless stated): 64 D Williams. 65 G Orr. 66 P O'Malley (Aus), J Rystrom (Swe), G Brand Jnr, C Rocca (It), M Mouland, P Way, P Mitchell, P Affleck. 67 A Lebouc (Fr), T Johnstone (Zim), D Feherty, M Roe, J Van de Vele (Fr), M Harwood (Aus). 68 J Spence, T Pernice (US), H Clark, A Hare, R Goosen (SA), D Smyth, M Besanceney (Fr), A Forsbrand (Swe), R McFarlane, S Torrance, A Murray, S McAllister, J Hobday (SA). 69 F Cupillard (Fr), E Els (SA), M James, M Krantz (Swe), F Nobilo (NZ), H Selby-Green, O Eskildsen (Den), R Mackenzie (Chile), A Hunter, R Rafferty, P Mayo, P McGinley, M Pendaries (Fr), M Gates, R Lee. 70 I Gervas (Sp), J Hawkes (SA), S Luna (Sp), P Teravainen (US), J-I Mouhica (Fr), E O'Connell, P Price, M Mackenzie, A Coltart, O Karlsson (Swe), A Pinero (Sp), G Ralph, J McHenry, B Lane, G Evans, M McLean, S Grappasonni (It), P Lawrie, P Tataurangi (NZ, amateur), D Nouailhac (Fr).