Curry opens title defence with level par

PAUL Curry, back for his summer break from Florida, started the defence of his Stoke by Nayland PGA Europro title with a level par opening round of 72 on the Gainsborough course in breezy conditions yesterday, writes Tony Garnett.

By Tony Garnett

PAUL Curry, back for his summer break from Florida, started the defence of his Stoke by Nayland PGA Europro title with a level par opening round of 72 on the Gainsborough course in breezy conditions yesterday, writes Tony Garnett.

Starting on the 10th Curry was two under before he dropped his first shot at the second after driving close to the trees on the left. A second shot was dropped at the par-five fifth.

Curry is three shots off the pace set by Francis McGuirk of Princes, one of his playing partners, and Irishman Damien Mooney. Lloyd Kennedy of Chelmsford was in good form with a round of 70, the highlight being an eagle down the 412-yard par-four ninth, his final hole.


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Jason Levermore of Clacton, with his father Stuart as caddy, had successive birdies at the 14th, 15th and 16th on his way to a 71 while Lawrence Dodd, the former England amateur international and Suffolk county player, had a level par 72.

Craig Housden of Channels, in his first professional season, was round in 76, recovering well after being five over after five holes, while Justin Brown of Gosfield Lake, playing under the Richard Wheeler Golf Academy, was one over at the turn and then saw his round fall apart to a 77. The top 50 and ties after the second round will play on the final day.

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Scores - 69: D Mooney (Nevada Bobs, Belfast), P McGuirk (Princes). 70: L Kennedy (Chelmsford). 71: W Bladon (Marriott Forest of Arden), A Scallon (Bancroft Ltd), A Smith (Pyle & Kenfig), G Gordon (SWM Golf Management), J Levermore (Clacton), C Nicoll (Prestwick), J Doherty (Picture Financial), M Searle (Woodbury Park), M Le Mesurier (unattached).

Other scores included: 72: P Curry (Braintree), L Dodd (Thetford). 74: S Whiffin (Enfield). 75: R Claydon (Gog Magog). 76: C Housden (Channels), P Ring (The Warren). 77: J Brown (Richard Wheeler Golf Academy). 79: W Boniface (Sports Academy). 80: O Pearl (Sports Academy). 82: D Chapman (Weston Park), J Winer (Sports Academy). 83: P Maddy (Gog Magog).

NEIL Mitchell of the Bury Golf Range had an opening round of three-under-par 68 and is very much in the hunt for the East Anglian Open Championship title at Blakes Golf Club near North Weald in Essex.

He is one shot behind joint leaders Neil Lythgoe of Royal Norwich and Danny Heard of Nazeing. It's tight at the top of the leaderboard. A large group of players at two under par include Simon Harrison of Thorpeness, Brett Taylor of Chelmsford and Mark Baker of Colchester. Andrew Cotton (Ufford Park) and Andrew Collison (Bungay) are well placed only three shots off the pace.

Scores: 67: N Lythgoe (Royal Norwich), D Heard (Nazeing). 68: N Mitchell (Bury Golf Range). 69: P Abbott (John O'Gaunt), M Bannister (Nazeing), D Poulter (Bedford), B Taylor (Chelmsford), J Jones (The Hertfordshire), J Bevitt (Moor Park), F Madden (Verulam), S Harrison (Thorpeness), M Baker (Colchester). 70: I Ashenden (unattached), M Davis (Thorndon Park), R Leonard (Mid Herts), A George (Ely City), A Collison (Bungay).

Other scores included: 71: A Pestell (Chelmsford). 72: A Robinson (Felixstowe Ferry). 74: W Sargent (Towerlands), P Wilby (Fynn Valley), A Tokley (Stoke by Nayland). 75: T Dobson (Stonham Barns), K Vince (Rushmere). 76: S Rusbridge (Frinton). 77: A Lucas (Waldringfield). 78: F Hill (Thorpeness). 80: D Barton (Fynn Valley). 82: S Cubitt (Land of Golf, Diss). 86: P Rains (Bury Golf Range).

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