Basic and Gaunt share lead on Day 1 of British Open qualifier in Australia

chris gaunt
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First-round co-leader Chris Gaunt got off to a solid start on Tuesday with a 69 at Kingston Heath.
Associated Press

Series: European Tour

Published: Monday, January 09, 2012 | 11:55 p.m.

Australians Neven Basic and Chris Gaunt shot 3-under-par 69s Tuesday to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the 36-hole Australian edition of International Final Qualifying (IFQ) tournament for this year's British Open.

At the par-72 Kingston Heath Golf Club, eight golfers shot 70, including Australian Kurt Barnes, one of three qualifiers from last year's tournament.

Four others were two shots behind after 71s. The final round will be played Wednesday.

The top three golfers in the 45-man field will qualify for this year's British Open from July 19-22 at Royal Lytham & St. Anne's in northern England.

Champions Tour regular Peter Senior shot 72 and was three off the lead, as was former PGA Tour player James Nitties. Peter Lonard shot 73 and Matthew Millar, another of last year's qualifiers, had a 75.

Jeong Jin of South Korea, the only player from outside Australia or New Zealand, shot 73.

International Final Qualifying (IFQ) events were introduced in 2004 and are held on five continents to give more players from around the world the chance to gain direct entry into golf's oldest championship. After this event in Australia, future qualiifers will be held Jan. 18-19 at Royal Johannesburg & Kensington in Johannesburg, South Africa; March 1-2 at Amata Spring Country Club in Bangkok, Thailand; May 21 at Gleneagles Golf & Country Club in Dallas, Texas; and June 25 at Sunningdale Golf club in Berkshire, England.