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Warren Abery leads Open Qualifying

South Africa's Warren Abery shot a five-under par 66 to lead the field on Wednesday in African qualifying for a place at this year's 135th British Open Championship.

Four places from a field of 39 at the International Final Qualifying Africa are available for the 2006 Open at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in north-west England in July.

The 32-year-old Abery holds a three-shot lead over a group of six players in the 36-hole event, including multiple Southern Africa Tour winners Bradford Vaughan and Des Terblanche.

Abery carded nines of 33 and finished strongly with birdies at the 17th and 18th to create a wonderful opportunity to earn a maiden appearance at arguably golf's most prestigious event.

"I wasn't all that nervous to start with. I was in the last group off, so I had enough time to settle down," Abery said at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club.

"Back-to-back birdies on the second and third was the start I needed."

"I started strong again on the back nine, with birdies at the two long par-fours (10 and 11) and missed the green at 12 and stuck it in the greenside bunker.

"I got my bunker shot to four-feet and the putt lipped out. Very maddening, considering I hit 16 greens in regulation today."

South Africa is staging the first of five international final qualifiers with Australasia, Asia, Europe and America hosting the others ahead of the July 20-23 Open.


66-Warren Abery

69-Henk Alberts, Bradford Vaughan, Bruce Vaughan (U.S.), Desmond Terblanche, Werner Geyer, Ross Wellington

70-Doug McGuigan (Scotland), Adilson Da Silva (Brazil)

71-Anton Haig, Michiel Bothma, Sean Farrell ZIM, Dion Fourie, Jaco Van Zyl, Barry Painting (Zimbabwe), Ian Hutchings, Thomas Aiken

72-Hendrik Buhrman, Shaun Norris

73-Desvonde Botes, Andre Bossert, Michael Lamb (Zimbabwe), Nico Van Rensburg, John Bele, Justin Walters (England)

January 19, 2006


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