PERTH, Australia (AP) — Defending champion Brett Rumford of Australia shot an 8-under 64 to take a two-stroke lead over Englishman Lee Westwood in the World Super 6 Perth on Thursday.
Rumford led the tournament from start to finish last year, dominating the opening three rounds of stroke play before winning the final-round match-play format at Lake Karrinyup Country Club.
Westwood, tied for second place after the first round with James Nitties of Australia, missed the cut in his first two tournaments of the year before finishing tied for 11th in Malaysia last week.
"I don't think this is a tournament where you want to be playing catch-up," Westwood said after his 66. "You want to get yourself in the mix and try and cruise through the second and third days and get into that top 24."
Nine golfers were tied for fourth, three strokes behind Rumford.
Andrew (Beef) Johnston shot 73. He was a late replacement for fellow Englishman Tyrrell Hatton, who was the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 15 before withdrawing with a wrist injury.
Danny Willett, the 2016 Masters champion, shot 76, and he and Johnston were in danger of missing the cut.The top 24 after three rounds play a series of six-hole shootouts in the event co-sanctioned by three tours: European, Asian and PGA of Australia.