Golf: Woods put in shade

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Lucas Parsons equalled the course record with a nine under par 64 to snatch the spotlight from Tiger Woods in the first round of the Australian Masters in Melbourne yesterday.

Woods, who won the Bangkok Classic in Thailand on Sunday, his fourth tournament victory since turning professional last August, plundered the long holes at Huntingdale to finish five under par at 68 for a share of fifth place. The 21-year-old heavy-hitting American birdied all four par- fives on the par-73 course to the delight of a large gallery, even though he only used his driver once.

Parsons led by one from a fellow Australian, Peter O'Malley, after securing six birdies on the front nine before holing his second shot at the 13th for an eagle two, the highlight of his round. His approach shot landed on the green and bounced about six feet beyond the flag but then spun back into the hole. The eagle helped Parsons to match the course record shared by another Australian, Mike Clayton, and Bernhard Langer.

Ronnie McCann, a South African-born American, took a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Dimension Data Pro-Am in Sun City yesterday, going round the Lost City course in a seven-under-par 65.

McCann's seven birdies put him two strokes clear of a group of nine players, including Zimbabwe's Nick Price and Italy's Costantino Rocca of Italy, who are sharing second spot.

In stark contrast, the European Ryder Cup captain Seve Ballesteros had a disastrous 82 on his first outing of the year on the European Tour.