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Home favorites Appleby and Hend lead Australian Open

SYDNEY (Reuters) - A three-putt bogey at the last dropped home favorite Stuart Appleby into a tie for the lead with compatriot Scott Hend on six-under-par after a blustery first round at the Australian Open Thursday. Eight-times PGA Tour winner Appleby raced into an early lead at the New South Wales Golf Club after seven birdies in his opening 12 holes, including holing a bunker shot for a birdie two at the 11th.

However, the 2001 champion saw his charge halted with a bogey five at the par-four 12th. He bounced back with a birdie three at the 16th but closed with a bogey six at the par-five 18th for a 66 to leave him tied at the top with Hend.

The 35-year-old Hend, who tied for third at the Singapore Open last month, enjoyed calmer conditions as an early starter, recording eight birdies and two bogeys in his 66.

Scott's playing partner, two time major winner John Daly donned a typically loud yellow and purple outfit for his eventful level par round which included six bogeys, four birdies and an eagle to leave him in a tie for 28th.

(Writing by Patrick Johnston in Singapore, Editing by John O'Brien)