Lawrie grabs early lead at Czech Open

Peter Lawrie fired a flawless round under 66 on Thursday to take the lead following the opening round of the Czech Open.

Lawrie, who has succeeded before at Prosper Golf Resort with a runner-up finish last year, closed his round with three birdies in five holes to take a one-stroke lead over three players.

Only a one-time winner on the European Tour, Lawrie had a near-win at the China Open earlier this year, finishing second, and an eighth-place finish at his last event, the Irish Open. His lone victory came back in 2008 at the Open de Espana.

"No bogeys, which always helps," Lawrie said. "I played lovely, solid golf, and every chance I gave myself from short range, I holed it."

Lawrie is being chased by compatriot Damien McGrane, Victor Dubuisson and Pedro Oriol, all of whom carded five-under 67s. Shane Lowry and Mikael Lundberg share fifth at minus-four.

"The scoring conditions are perfect," McGrane said. "So it's possible to create a lot of chances. But creating them is one thing, converting them is quite another."

The 37-year-old Irishman Lawrie was one of the first groups out on the 10th tee Thursday, and he wasted no time getting into red figures with a birdie on the 11th.

Lawrie's only other birdie on the first nine holes came at the 14th before pitching to six feet at the par-five first for another birdie to get to minus- three.

From the fifth, Lawrie had back-to-back birdies, including a 25-foot putt to get to five-under at the sixth. His approach at the eighth landed five feet from the pin and resulted in his final birdie.

"The course is playing totally different this year to last year," said Lawrie of the Miguel Angel Jimenez-designed course. "It's much softer. You're hitting your driver on pretty much every hole, and the ball's not running out in any shape or form."

Each of the players that share second all had six birdies to go with a lone bogey. Of the three, only McGrane has won previously, with a victory at the 2008 China Open and four international titles.

NOTES: Jimenez, the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 34, stumbled to a four-over 76 and shares 113th place. He is the only player in the top-100 in the field...Only six eagles were recorded on the day, all at par- fives...Lawrie is the sixth-highest ranked player in the field at No. 138...Last year's champion Peter Hanson is not on hand to defend his title.