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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 May 2007, 18:58 GMT 19:58 UK
Bond and Dredge lead Welsh charge
By Nabil Hassan
BBC Wales Sport at the Celtic Manor

Liam Bond
Bond is making a rare appearance on the European Tour
Liam Bond and Bradley Dredge led the home challenge on a rain-soaked first day at the Celtic Manor Wales Open.

The Gwent duo both fired rounds of 66 to end the day on three under par, one shot behind the leaders.

Bond's round ended a remarkable few days, having been invited to play the event on Monday after celebrating the birth of his second child last week.

"It's been quite a few days and this round was a nice way to celebrate," said 36-year-old Bond.

Bond, who lives in Newport, fired six birdies and three bogeys on the way to his 66 in Wales's flagship golfing event.

His round was also disrupted by a two-hour delay in play because of a torrential downpour just after lunch.

I showed enough signs to suggest that I can put together a couple of good rounds

Phillip Price

"I was a bit rusty going back out, but managed to hold it together and it was nice to hole that putt at the end to finish on three under," added Bond, who is currently playing on the Challenge Tour.

"I play here quite a bit anyway so the late invite didn't disrupt me too much, and a few more rounds like that would be nice."

While Bond was delighted with his round, fellow Welshman Dredge felt he has plenty of room for improvement ahead of his second round.

"I didn't really concentrate as well as I would have liked and was a bit up and down as a result, but I managed to finish well which is always a nice thing to do," said Dredge.

"There are some tough holes out there this year with the direction of the wind, the first and the 17th for example.

"If you miss the fairway there you are in trouble, the pin is tough on the first as well so that is probably a four and half hole."

Hopes of a first home winner at the Wales Open look good as fellow Welshmen Phillip Price and Garry Houston ended the day on two under par.

Price said he showed enough encouraging signs in his first round of three birdies and one bogey to suggest he is ready to mount a serious challenge.

He said: "I hit the ball great early on and then hit a few good shots late on.

"The weather wasn't great, but I don't mind that and managed to get off just in time.

"But I showed enough signs to suggest that I can put together a couple of good rounds."

Garry Houston followed Price with an equally impressive first round 67, with Kyron Sullivan one shot behind and Sion Bebb on level par after dropping four shots on the closing holes.



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