Canizares Holds two-shot lead after 18 at ISPS Handa Vic Open

Spain’s Alejandro Canizares will take a two-shot lead into the second round of the ISPS Handa Vic Open following a stunning opening round of 63 in Geelong.

Alejandro Canizares came into the week well outside the top 100 on the Race to Dubai leaderboard, having failed to finish inside the top 20 at any of his four European Tour events so far this season. Going into the second round of the ISPS Handa Vic Open, he holds a two-shot lead.

The Spaniard carded a 63 around the Creek Course at 13th Beach Golf Links in Geelong, Australia.

Having started on the 10th hole, the World No. 781 was four-under through five holes, before a bogey on the 16th. However, he recovered with a further five birdies on the front nine, including three to finish, at 7, 8 and 9, as he came home at -9.

He holds a two-shot lead over a quartet of Australians playing on home soil this week, with two of those yet to register on the Race to Dubai leaderboard.

Neither Matthew Griffin or Justin Warren have earned any points during the 2020 season, but they sit in a tie for 2nd after 18 holes in Geelong this week. Travis Smyth and Jake McLeod are also in the group at -7.

Two other non-Australians have breached the top ten, with a group of eight players sat at -6 after their opening rounds, currently three back from the leader. France’s Robin Sciot-Siegrist and Canadian Aaron Cockerill both posted 66 on opening day.

They are joined by six other Australians, including Min Woo Lee, who sits just outside the top 50 in the Race to Dubai standings, and Jed Morgan, the leading amateur after the opening salvo.

2006 U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy, who is now outside the top 1650 on the Official World Golf Rankings, is looking for a good week to kickstart a return to form, and he sits at -5 after shooting 67 on Thursday on home soil.

Also in the group in a tie for 14th after the first day are New Zealand’s Ryan Fox, and Dutchman Wil Besseling, along with a gaggle of fellow Australians, including Nick Flanagan and Simon Hawkes.

Nick Cullen and Jason Scrivener are among the home hopes sitting at -4 after the first day in Geelong, alongside defending ISPS Handa Vic Open champion, Scotland’s David Law.

Haotong Li posted a 69 on opening day, and he is among those in a tie for 47th, but it could have been much better for the Chinese star, who had this bit of bad luck during his opening round, after an almost perfect drive.

He is alongside Sweden’s Rikard Karlberg and the second amateur to be inside the projected cut line as it stands, Andre Lautee.

The cut line is projected to come in at -3 as it stands, but that will probably go lower on the second day, especially with two courses in action and good scoring available across the 36 hole venue at 13th Beach Golf Links.

Omega Dubai Desert Classic champion Lucas Herbert is currently just outside the cut line at -2. The Australian, who sits in 2nd on the Race to Dubai leaderboard following his victory ten days ago, posted a 70 on opening day.

Englishman Sam Horsfield is alongside the Aussie in a tie for 67th, while countryman Garrick Porteous is alongside the likes of Wade Ormsby a further shot back.

The week could already be over for the likes of Louis de Jäger, Anthony Quayle and Sweden’s Joel Sjöholm, who all posted rounds of at least 75. The Swede, who finished runner-up at the season-opening Alfred Dunhill Championship in December, is at +5 after an opening 77.

Back at the top though, and Alejandro Canizares will go into the second round with the lead of the ISPS Handa Vic Open, and he will have the chance to post a second low score in succession on Friday, as he tees off more than four hours before any of the quartet who sit two shots back.

Could the Spaniard follow up his 63 to open up a big lead ahead of the weekend’s action in Geelong?

Once again, the action gets underway at 07:00 (GMT+11), with play on both the Creek and Beach Courses at 13th Beach Golf Links, but will it be a home favourite that holds the lead come the end of Friday’s play?

Leaderboard (AUS if not specified):

1 (-9): Alejandro Canizares (ESP)

T2 (-7): Matthew Griffin, Travis Smyth, Justin Warren, Jake McLeod

Selected Others:

T6 (-6): Jed Morgan (A), Min Woo Lee, Robin Sciot-Siegrist (FRA), Aaron Cockerill (CAN)

T14 (-5): Geoff Ogilvy, Ryan Fox (NZL), Wil Besseling (NED)

T30 (-4): David Law (SCO), Jason Scrivener, Nick Cullen

T47 (-3): Haotong Li (CHN), RIkard Karlberg (SWE), Andre Lautee (A)

T67 (-2): Sam Horsfield (ENG), Lucas Herbert

T90 (-1): Wade Ormsby, Garrick Porteous (ENG)

T132 (+3): Louis de Jager (RSA), Anthony Quayle

T140 (+5): Joel Sjöholm (SWE), Josh Armstrong (A)

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