Sport: James Marchesani claims first round lead at PNG Open

8:44 am on 5 May 2017

Australian golfer James Marchesani has a two shot lead at the Papua New Guinea Open after firing an impressive first round 7 under par 65, including ten birdies.

The Victorian birdied the first three holes at the Royal Port Moresby Golf Club before a bogey at four but closed out the front nine with three more birdies.

"It was a nice start, especially out here it's always nice to get a few birdies early," he said.

"It gets your confidence going on the greens and you're able to try and wiggle a few in."

Australian golfer James Marchesani.

Australian golfer James Marchesani. Photo: PGA of Australia

On the back nine, Marchesani pocketed another three birdies before the 16th hole.

Some bad luck on the 17th brought a double bogey before he closed out his round with a 10th birdie of the day on the par three 18th.

"I'm in a pretty good spot. There's obviously still the afternoon group to go but as long as I keep staying patient on the greens and keep hitting the ball the way I am I should hopefully be around on the weekend," said Marchesani.

Queenslander Brett Rankin was the big mover in the afternoon field shooting 5 under 67 to be outright second.

"I played really well today. I hit 14 or 15 greens which you've got to do around here because it's hard to make putts," Rankin said.

"I drove the ball really well and hit it really nicely and just didn't miss any short ones which again is pretty crucial around this course."

Rankin only managed one birdie in his round and was pleased with his first up effort.

"If I can keep hitting the ball where I am I can give myself enough opportunities, I had a whole bunch of eight and 10 foot putts as well which didn't go in but they could have," he said.

"There's not too many guys who shoot 7-under everyday so I'm in a good spot."

Defending champion Brad Moules is four shots off the lead in a share of 6th place, alongside compatriots Damien Jordan and Matthew Stieger, while Papua New Guinea amateur Soti Dinki finished inside the top-10 after shooting a 2 under par 70.

Fiji professional Sam Lee was in a share of 26th place at even par after the opening round.