Hendry, Canizares upstage top draws in Perth


American Jason Dufner and South African Charl Schwartzel were both disappointed to shoot one-under 71s in the opening round of the $Aus2 million ($2.04 million) Perth International at Lake Karrinyup on Thursday. Dufner’s effort around the par-72 layout left the world No.10 six strokes off first-round leaders, New Zealand’s Michael Hendry and Spain’s Alejandro Canizares.
Hendry and Canizares both opened with seven-under 65. “I got off to a nice start,” Dufner said. “But I didn’t really finish it off. Thought I was going to put a good score on the board after 12 holes. “But I just couldn’t make the par saves that I needed to. “I’ve got a long way to go to get back up towards the lead, but the good thing is there’s three days left.”
Schwartzel, the 2011 US Masters Champion, was also disappointed with his opening round. “I got off to a really good start. But I found it very difficult to judge the wind on this golf course,” Schwartzel said. “It feels very inconsistent, so it was hard to pull the right club.
“But one-under is what it is. I really feel like I can shoot a low score out there. So just stay patient and see.” The South African is confident he can make up the leeway. “Six shots is nothing. There’s so many holes to go. It’s just a start. You can lose it in the first round but you can’t win it in the first round.” Paul Casey also stormed into contention with a 67 in the trickier, windy afternoon conditions.
“I’m really happy with a 67. I gave myself lots of birdie chances,” said the Englishman, who was No.3 in the world behind Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson two years ago. But he has slipped to the 130s in the rankings after dislocating a shoulder in a snowboard accident on Christmas Eve last year.
Canizares, ranked 246, made a late decision to come to Perth after missing the cut in Portugal last week.
The Australian event, co-sanctioned by the European and Australasian PGA tours, is just one of two events left this season for him to bolster his world ranking. “A win here would solve the problem,” said the Spaniard.
New Zealander Hendry, ranked 574, has won three times in his own country and spent most of his time playing at home. He intends to try to qualify on the Japanese Tour for 2013. He is coached by New Zealand Institute of Sport’s Craig Dixon, who also mentors teenage sensation Lydia Koh. Australian Greg Chalmers, the defending Australian Open and PGA Championship winner, shot a solid round of four-under 68 to be three shots off the pace. And in an ominous warning to his rivals, the world No.58 said he was confident he will improve during the tournament as he gets used to the conditions.