Murray bags seven birdies in Kazakhstan Open


MANCHESTER’S Tom Murray and Francesco Laporta both carded scores of 66 to share the lead after the first round of the Kazakhstan Open.

Making the initial move at the Almaty event was  Murray, who bagged seven birdies and one bogey to set the clubhouse target at six under par after the first morning at Nurtau Golf Club.

Italy’s Laporta proved to be the pick of the afternoon starters, making six gains during a blemish-free round which also took him to pole position after the first day in Kazakhstan.

But with 22 players within two shots of the lead after the first round at the lucrative tournament – which has the largest prize fund of the season on the European Challenge Tour – Murray admitted he will have a fight on his hands to stay on top for the rest of the week.

“We are all here to win as this is kind of like our Major,” he said. “If you win here you know you will be playing on the European Tour next year so there is a lot at stake and it is really competitive because of that.

“I played really solid and didn’t hit too many bad shots. I holed a 30-footer on the 12th but overall it was just solid rather than spectacular.

“I putted nicely with a new grip that I have been trialling in practice – so it was great for that aspect of my game to be working well.

“The course was playing as easy as it could be today, but the fairways were firm and around the greens was also firm which meant that if you’re out of position it made things tricky – but there were definitely chances out there.

“I have been here a few times but haven’t had much success, so today was a bit of a surprise to be honest.”

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