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Brier takes 1st-round lead in China Open

BEIJING, April 16 (UPI) -- Austria's Markus Brier fired a 5-under-par 67 Thursday to take the first-round lead at the China Open in Beijing.

Brier, who won the tournament in 2007, was followed by Nick Dougherty and David McKenzie tied at 68 and Simon Dyson and Chapchai NIrat at 69.

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The tournament is sanctioned by the European and Asian tours.

"I hit some great iron shots and the putter was really hot as well, which is a great combination," Brier said. "I made all the crucial par saves as well and that really kept the round alive."

Defending champion Damien McGrane (72) was tied for 19th place.

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