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Austria's Brier races off to early lead in Beijing

AUSTRIAN Markus Brier grabbed seven birdies in a 5-under par 67 to hold the lead after the first round of the US$2.2 million China Open in Beijing yesterday.

The 40-year-old stood one stroke ahead of Briton Nick Dougherty and Australian David McKenzie.

"It was really a nice day ... I hit some iron shots and the putter was really hot as well, which is a great combination," said Brier, who won the 2007 China Open in Shanghai. "I made all the crucial par saves as well and that really kept the round alive," he said.

Simon Dyson of Britain and Chapchai Nirat of Thailand were tied in fourth after 69s.

Thai Chinnarat Phadungsil and Thongchai Jaidee, Australians Scott Strange and Matthew Millar, and South Korean Choi Ho-sung shared sixth place on two-under-par. Colin Montgomerie had a disappointing 73.


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