Griffin leads Down Under

Matthew Griffin fired a seven-under par 65 to take a one shot lead after the first round of the Australian Open in Sydney.

Matthew Griffin took advantage of calm morning conditions to fire a seven-under par 65 and take a one shot lead after the first round of the Australian Open presented by Century 21.

And it meant the 27-year-old raced 10 clear of pre-tournament favourite Adam Scott who got the worst of the weather in the afternoon and stumbled to a three-over 75.

Griffin’s bogey free round saw him end the day one shot clear of fellow Aussie John Senden who, unlike Scott, was able to battle his way through the windy afternoon conditions to compile a superb six-under 66.

Senden birdied the par-three 18th to move one clear of Alistair Presnell, who posted a 67 in the morning.

Geoff Ogilvy is the best placed of the big names after an eagle-birdie finish got him to four under alongside six others, including reigning Senior Australian Open champion Peter Senior.

The former US Open champ also made an eagle at the par-five 11th but gave it back with bogeys at 12 and 13.

Stuart Appleby, who won the Aussie Masters last month, is also well placed after signing for a 68 while American John Daly is just one further back after a 69 which featured six birdies and three bogeys.

Appleby played in a stellar three-ball featuring veterans Fred Couples and Greg Norman.

Couples, the 1992 Masters champion, had to settle for a 72 despite playing in the best of the weather while Norman slipped to a 74.

Norman, the two-time British Open champ and former world number one, was three under after 12 holes but dropped five shots in five holes to fall all the way down to two over.

Meanwhile, English amateur Tom Lewis, who came within a whisker of pulling off a sensational victory in the New South Wales Open last week, again showed his promised by posting a two-under 70.