Four way tie for lead at Perth International

Australians James Nitties and Clint Rice, South Korean Jin Jeong and Swede Peter Hedblom lead the ISPS HANDA Perth International after the first round.

The international quartet fired rounds of 4-under 68 to be just one stroke clear of the field at Lake Karrinyup Country Club.

James Nitties James Nitties tees off at the Perth International (Credit: SMP Images)

New South Welshman James Nitites spent the year competing on the Web.com Tour before coming home and finishing tied third at the WA Goldfields PGA Championship two weeks ago.

“I sort of had mixed emotions coming in this week, but the game is there. I’m very happy to be at 4‑under through the first round,” said Nitties who missed the Web.com Tour playoffs by one spot on the moneylist.

Tasmanian Clint Rice said his performance today was all about pre-tournament preparation.

“I turned up here on Monday and started planning precisely how to play this golf course. It’s definitely a challenge to play this golf course well,” said Rice who missed the cut last year at the ISPS HANDA Perth International.

“I was a bit under prepared last year. I didn’t really treat the course with enough respect. So I took a different approach this year.”

Rice’s preparation paid off as he posted a bogey free round to kick start his tournament.

Finishing a shot off the leaders was tournament drawcard Dustin Johnson, Australians Nick O’Hern, Nick Cullen, Dimi Papadatos and amateur Brady Watt. They are also joined by European Tour players Sam Little (ENG), Fred Andersson Hed (SWE) and Bjorn Akesson (SWE).

Johnson was pleased with his first round of 3-under 69 after struggling with his health in the lead up to the ISPS HANDA Perth International.

“I’m feeling way better than I was. I just have a little bit of a cough which is okay. I’m back to where I feel good enough to play good golf,” said Johnson.

“I think I’ve got a pretty good game plan for the golf course. Coming into the greens is just where you’ve really got to think about the shot you’re hitting and where you want to hit it.”

Source – PGA Australia