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Flawless Tom Lewis leads Lyoness Open in Austria

Updated: Thursday, 06 Jun 2013 20:03 | Comments

Tom Lewis shot nine under at the Lyoness Open
Tom Lewis shot nine under at the Lyoness Open

England's Tom Lewis reaped the benefits of lowering his own high expectations with a brilliant opening 63 in the Lyoness Open in Austria.

Lewis carded nine birdies and no bogeys in a flawless round at Diamond Country Club to lead by two shots from Holland's Joost Luiten, with France's Alexander Levy and English trio Graeme Storm, Simon Dyson and Richard McEvoy a shot further back.

Damien McGrane is the best of the Irish on three under, six off the lead, while David Higgins is two shots further back on one under.

Gareth Maybin recovered from a shaky start - three bogeys on the first three holes - to shoot level par, while newly turned professional Alan Dunbar shot two over.

Lewis burst onto the scene with an opening 65 at Royal St George's in 2011, the lowest score by an amateur in Open Championship history giving him a share of the lead.

The 22-year-old went on to finish 30th and win the silver medal as leading amateur, before turning professional and winning the Portugal Masters in just his third event in the paid ranks.

However, Lewis struggled to reproduce that form in 2012, finishing 117th on the Race to Dubai with just one top-10 finish, and arrived in Austria on the back of six missed cuts in succession.

"This year has been tough but I've been close, I have shown some good stuff but it has not all come together," Lewis told European Tour Radio. "Today it did and hopefully three more rounds like that and I will be all right.

"I always make a double (bogey) in a round that always pushed me out of the lead or competing and I get down on myself. I really have to control that and it showed today.

"I get down on myself quite easily and that's something I have been working on with a few people. We travel so much with so many different conditions it can get to a lot of players. Some weeks you are feeling great and those are the weeks you have to turn into great weeks. Some you are not feeling brilliant and you have to grind and fight to the end.

"I have high expectations and I think that's good for certain areas, but I haven't got much patience so the gap between those two is not great. Because I have struggled it's been good because I have dropped my expectations and today has been great to get my confidence back up."

Sixty five players took advantage of the soft conditions to break par, with veteran Miguel Angel Jimenez, 49, and an Austrian amateur 31 years his junior among those tied for seventh on five under.

Jimenez, the oldest winner in European Tour history after his victory in the Hong Kong Open in November last year at the age of 48 years and 318 days, carded seven birdies and two bogeys, while Matthias Schwab carded five birdies and no bogeys.

Despite being constantly outdriven by more than 30 yards by playing partner and defending champion Bernd Wiesberger - who carded a 68 - Jimenez told Sky Sports 2: "I enjoy what I do. I played very well and am hitting it very solid.

"I play with these guys and I need binoculars to see where they hit it. It's difficult to gain any distance now with this body at 49 years of age, but it doesn't bother me because I know who I am, I know my strengths."

Schwab, 18, who only finished his school exams three weeks ago, was runner-up in the British Amateur last year and went on to win two and a half points out of three in the junior Ryder Cup.

Former tennis world number one Yevgeny Kafelnikov struggled to a 12-over-par 84, but at least was not dead last in the 151-strong field thanks to rounds of 87 and 89 respectively from Austrian amateurs Nikolaus Wimmer and Sam Straka.

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