Canizares takes 1-stroke lead on Austrian Open opening day

Alejandro Canizares defied chilly and windy conditions to shoot a 5-under 67 in the first round of the Austrian Open.

Alejandro Canizares putts on the ninth green during Day One of the Austrian Golf Open at Diamond Country Club. - GETTY IMAGES

Alejandro Canizares defied chilly and windy conditions to shoot a 5-under 67 on Thursday for a one-stroke lead after the opening day of the Austrian Open. The Spaniard carded an eagle and four birdies to sit in front of a quartet of players, which included former No. 1 Martin Kaymer and John Catlin, a two-time winner in 2020.

“It was tough to keep focused, it was so cold,” Canizares said. “It’s tough to feel the hands and that’s very important.”

Canizares’ only setback was a bogey on the par-four 12th. “I putted very nicely, missed a short one when I made the bogey,” he said.

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Apart from Kaymer and Catlin, Rikard Karlsberg and Jacques Kruyswijk also finished their opening round on 68. The highest-ranked player in the field, No. 47 Thomas Detry, was tied for 10th after a 70.

The Austrian Open is the first European Tour event in 2021 on European soil. It replaces the Tenerife Open, which is taking the slot of the Portugal Masters on April 29-May 2. The event in Portugal cannot be staged due travel restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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