Walton makes a flying start

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The Independent Online
Golf

A burning desire for a Ryder Cup place is driving both Philip Walton and the new Open champion, John Daly, and the Irishman yesterday made a flying start to share the first-round lead in the Dutch Open at Hilversum.

Both players know they still have to convince their respective captains - Bernard Gallacher and Lanny Wadkins - before they can take part in the event in September between Europe and America at Oak Hill, in Rochester, New York.

Walton is currently lying 10th in the standings - the last automatic place. A couple of good tournaments will set him up for a ticket to Rochester, and he started his campaign with an opening six-under-par 65 at Hilversum. He is tied with America's Scott Hoch after recording eight birdies and two bogeys.

Daly, with a 72, was left in the shade by his playing partner, Scotland's Colin Montgomerie, who appeared to have got over his disappointment at missing the cut at St Andrews by shooting a 67.

Montgomerie left Daly standing with a blistering start, including four birdies in the front nine, to go out in 32. But he dropped shots at the 11th and 13th, only to retrieve the situation at the short 15th where his nine-iron stroke finished four feet from the pin.

He ended his round with a bogey and two birdies, and put his good score down to returning to a putter he used to win the 1989 Portuguese Open.

In the morning, conditions were ideal for low scores with warm sunshine and receptive greens dampened by overnight rain, but Daly, who played most of his afternoon round in steady rain, was satisfied with his 72. "I hung in there and it could have been a lot worse," he admitted. "I am still in a good situation."

He revealed he has already spent part of his winnings from the Open by splashing out pounds 90,000 on a new Mercedes.

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