Danny Lee impresses in first round in Texas

FRED WOODCOCK
Last updated 14:24 12/04/2013

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Golf

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Danny Lee's liking for the Midland Country Club in Texas continues.

The New Zealand golfer has opened the $US600,000 WNB Golf Classic with a four-under par 68 to share ninth place after the opening round of the United States second-tier tour event.

Lee, who won the tournament in 2011 en route to earning a PGA Tour card and was tied for second last year, started and finished his round strongly with three birdies in his first five holes and another two across his final three, playing the middle 10 in one-over with a lone bogey.

It leaves the 22-year former US Amateur champion in a share of ninth, two shots off the early pace being set by a trio of former PGA Tour pros - German Alex Cejka, Swede Daniel Chopra and American Todd Hamilton, the 2004British Open champion - who all signed for six-under par 66s.

Lee has made a habit of fast starts on the Web.com Tour this season - today's 68 is his worst opening round in the past five tournaments and he leads the tour in scoring average (67.9) before the cut.

But his weekend scoring average (71.5) is the reason is hasn't been able to convert top-10s (he's two in five starts) into wins, and he'll be hoping to find that four-round consistency this week on a layout he obviously feels comfortable on.

"We're working on mental stuff," he said before the tournament.

"It's definitely not easy when things start not going well. You hit a good shot and end up in the wrong spot, it really makes you disappointed or angry.

"It's improving, but I want to have it right now. That's the problem, I guess. I want everything to be perfect right now, instead of later."

Meanwhile, Tim Wilkinson made a steady start with a one-under 71 to lie in a share of 42nd after the first round, while fellow New Zealander Steve Alker has work to do to make the cut after a disappointing three-over 75 to share 132nd in the 156-strong field.

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