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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 December 2005, 05:43 GMT
Late revival spares Casey blushes
Paul Casey
GB&Irl unless stated
-6 Soon Kang (Kor)
-5 Randhawa (Ind), Gibson (Can), Erlandsson (Swe)
-4 McEvoy, Delamontagne (Fra), Kjeldsen (Den)
A run of three late birdies saved Paul Casey from a disastrous first round at the Hong Kong Open.

On Sunday he clawed back a five-shot margin to win the China Open, but he needed a hat-trick of birdies just to card a four-over-par round of 74.

Korea's Wook-Soon Kang set the pace with a 64, with Jyoti Randhawa, Martin Erlandsson and Rick Gibson one behind.

Colin Montgomerie carded a one-under 69 to finish level with defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez and Thomas Bjorn.

The 28-year-old Casey, who claimed his fifth European Tour title four days ago, kept his sense of humour despite Thursday's trying round.

"Everything that could happen on the first nine, happened - I was stuck behind trees, in bunkers, it was all going against me," he said.

Two-over after three holes wasn't a great start but I did okay, battled back, and there are three more rounds to go
Colin Montgomerie
"Even on the par-five third, I hit the pin with my approach and it bounced back into the bunker. Thomas Bjorn was laughing at me.

"But I'd rather have a win last week and struggle this than have two average weeks. The way I finished was encouraging and I will take that form out there again on Friday."

Montgomerie, who admitted he was "knackered" by the battle to secure his eighth Order of Merit title, birdied the first, bogeyed the second and double-bogeyed the third.

But the 42-year-old Scot played the next 15 holes in three under par.

"There was nothing really wrong, three decent 65s and you never know," said Montgomerie.

"Two-over after three holes wasn't a great start but I did okay, battled back, and there are three more rounds to go."


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