sport

Wiesberger recovers after start

Bernd Wiesberger's bid for a second Lyoness Open title and US Open debut got off to a mixed start at Diamond Country Club on Thursday.

Wiesberger needs to repeat his 2012 triumph to qualify for the second major of the season at Pinehurst next week by moving inside the top 60 on the world rankings from his current position on 69th.

The 28-year-old from Vienna has put all his eggs in one basket by not playing the recent qualifying event at Walton Heath and missing last week's Nordea Masters in Sweden to concentrate on this week.

The gamble looked set to backfire after a bogey on the 10th, his opening hole, was followed by a string of pars, but a birdie on the 16th got him back to level par at the turn and sparked a major improvement in fortune.

Wiesberger experienced both good and bad luck on the first, where his approach to the 506-yard par five narrowly cleared the water in front of the green and took a friendly bounce towards the hole.

However, his eagle putt from six feet then caught the edge of the cup and horseshoed out, while he also missed from similar distance for a birdie on the second.

Wiesberger did not have to wait long for another birdie though, producing another excellent iron shot in the overcast and windy conditions on the third and holing from five feet, while a superb bunker shot on the next - despite an awkward stance - set up his third birdie in four holes.

At three under par, Wiesberger was just one behind leader Fabrizio Zanotti, while playing partner Miguel Angel Jimenez was also into red figures after a bad start.

The 50-year-old Spaniard, who was hoping to call on some "home" support after moving to Vienna following his wedding to Austrian Susanne Styblo last month, was two over par after eight holes but birdied the par-three 18th and then holed a bunker shot on the second.

Jimenez, who extended his own record as the oldest winner in European Tour history by claiming the Spanish Open three weeks ago, also two-putted the par-five fourth from long range to improve to one under.