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Defending champion Willett one shot back in Switzerland

Defending champion Danny Willett in action during the first round of the Omega European Masters Golf Tournament in Crans-Montana, Switzerland.
(Olivier Maire / EPA)

Danny Willett of England, the Masters champion on both sides of the Atlantic, shot a 5-under 65 to be one stroke off the lead after the European Masters first round on Thursday.

Willett began the defense of his title in the scenic Swiss Alps among nine players trailing joint leaders Paul Peterson of the United States, Frenchmen Gregory Havret and Mike Lorenzo-Vera, and Daniel Brooks of England.

Peterson, a lefty who won the Czech Masters two weeks ago, had four birdies in a five-hole section from 14 to 18 in his round of 64.

The group on 5 under included Andrew “Beef” Johnston of England. Among Europe’s Ryder Cup team, Lee Westwood shot a 2-over 72 and Matt Fitzpatrick had a 5-over 75. Captain Darren Clarke carded a 78.

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Chella Choi ended up on top of the LPGA Manulife Classic leaderboard at windy Whistle Bear in Cambridge, Canada, when Belen Mozo unraveled with a closing triple bogey.

Choi shot a six-under 66, finishing with a birdie on the par-five ninth hole. Mozo played the first 17 holes at seven under before running into trouble on the par-four 18th. The Spaniard finished with a 68.


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