Sporting Digest: Golf

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JAMIE SPENCE gave his prospects of a place in the European Ryder Cup side a fillip yesterday with a five-under-par 67 in the first round of the Rome Masters. However, the first-round leader was Jean van de Velde, of France, who equalled the course record with a 66.

ROME MASTERS (Castelgandolfo) Leading first-round scores (GB or Irl unless stated): 66 J van de Velde (Fr); 67 J Spence; 68 F Nobilo (NZ), A Hunter, C Rocca (It), J Townsend (US); 69 A Lebouc (Fr), J Robson, M Besanceney (Fr), B Lane, S Grappasonni (It); 70 J Sewell, J Payne, S Struver (Ger), J Robinson, A Binaghi (It), G Cali (It); 71 P Walton, L Jones, W Riley (Aus), D Williams, P Fowler (Aus), D Clarke, H P Thuel (Ger), G J Brand, S McAllister, D Hospital (Sp), H Clark, P Baker.* denotes amateur

BRIDGESTON ASO OPEN TOURNAMENT (Kumamoto) Leading first-round scores: (Japan unless stated): 66 T Nishikawa. 67 K Takahashi, N Kamatsu. 68 K Murota, T Odate, S Kawamata, Kyi Hla Han (Bur), S Ebihara, I Funatogawa, T Sudo, K Takami. 70 B Hughes (Aus), Hsieh Min-nan (Tai). 72 Chen Tze-ming (Tai), S Gimson (Sing), P Senior (Aus), G Meyer (US). 73 R Gibson (Can), T Gale (Aus), B Ogle (Aus), L Steve (Aus). 74 Lin Chi-hsiang (Tai). 75 C Warren (Aus), S Appleby (Aus). 79 M Ferguson (Aus).