Toxic smoke from bushfires affects Australian Open

Paul Casey

Players at the Australian Open have complained of stinging eyes as toxic smoke from bushfires around Sydney affected the opening round on Thursday.

Sydney’s air quality index registered on a par with Beijing, forcing New Zealand golfer Ryan Chisnall, who is asthmatic, to don a face mask.

Smoke has blown over from fires that have raged for more than a month.

“It feels like I should shove a bit of salt water up my nose or something,” said Australian number one Adam Scott.

Scott, who is thinking about wearing a face mask for the second round, struggled to a four-over 75.

“Obviously not the conditions we want to be playing in. [The smoke] got pretty thick for a while,” he added.

England’s world number 14 Paul Casey, the highest-ranked player in the field, finished the day on 68, three shots off the lead.

“I must admit my eyes are stinging but you know I honestly feel for the people [nearer the fires], because we’re feeling it down here 100 [miles] away.

“I’m not going to complain because there’s people in a way worse position than me.”

Two young Asian amateurs, Japan’s Takumi Kanaya and Taiwan’s Yu Chun-an, both 21, led after day one with six-under-par 65s.

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Reed and Woodland lead in Bahamas as Woods struggles

Patrick Reed

Hero World Challenge first-round leaderboard
-6 G Woodland, P Reed; -4 C Reavie; -3 J Rose (Eng), J Thomas, R Fowler, H Stenson (Swe); -2 J Rahm (Spa)
Selected others: E B Watson, T Woods

Gary Woodland and fellow American Patrick Reed share the lead after the first round of the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.

The pair managed six-under rounds of 66 as Tiger Woods was one of those to struggle in windy conditions.

The 15-time Major champion closed with a bogey and double bogey to slip to level par for his opening round.

England’s Justin Rose is one of four players three shots off the lead and one behind second-placed Chez Reavie.

American duo Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler, plus Sweden’s Henrik Stenson, joined Rose on three under.

“I didn’t putt well today,” said Woods after his round. “My short game was great, drilled it really well, just hit a couple of poor iron shots that cost me a few shots.”

Woods hosts the 18-strong field at the event which is held for the benefit of his charitable foundation. He admitted that he would also take the chance to fine-tune his American team before next week’s Presidents Cup meeting with the International team.

Only Dustin Johnson is absent from playing captain Woods’ 12-man selection for Royal Melbourne.

“We have some things we need to run through with the guys, some ideas,” Woods said. “We want to have a clear picture of what we want to do down there because obviously once we get down there things roll pretty quickly.”

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