Winnipeg, MB (SportsNetwork. Slick Watts Jersey .com) - Erik Barnes fired an 8-under 63 in the opening round Thursday and grabbed a 1-shot lead at The Players Cup.Barnes, who is in his second season on the PGA Tour Canada, is coming off a fourth-place finish at the Dakota Dunes Open.Joshua Creel is one stroke off the lead as he opened with a 64 at Pine Ridge Golf Club. Brock Mackenzie, the 2010 Times Colonist Open winner, is alone in third place after a first-round 65.Drew Stoltz and Matthew Smith share fourth place at minus-5, while Matt Hill, Doug McGuigan and Tyler Aldridge are tied for sixth at 4-under 67.Barnes started his bogey-free round with birdies on the second and fourth. He also birdied the sixth and eighth as he headed to the back nine at minus-4.The 26-year-old birdied the par-5 12th and followed with an eagle on the short par-4 13th. After four pars in a row, Barnes birdied the last two grab the lead.Creel parred his first three holes, then made eagle on the par-5 fourth. After three more pars, he birdied the par-5 eighth before making a pair of pars.He moved to 4-under with a birdie on the par-4 11th and that kicked off a run of four straight birdies. The burst moved Creel within one of the lead. He birdied the 17th, but stumbled to a bogey at the last to end one back.NOTES: Barnes has carded three 63s in his last four rounds as he also shot 63 in the second and final rounds last week in Saskatchewan ... Brady Schnell, who tied for fifth last year, struggled to a 2-over 73, which left him tied for 71st. Custom Seattle Supersonics Jerseys . But defending champion Elena Vesnina of Russia held off a strong challenge to beat Shuai Peng of China 6-3, 6-4, and there was another hard-fought victory for 2012 runner-up Angelique Kerber of Germany, who defeated Alison Riske of the United States 7-6 (6), 6-4. Jim Fox Jersey . JOHNS, N.CARDIFF -- Wales survived a second-half fightback by Italy to launch the defence of its Six Nations title with an unconvincing 23-15 win at Millennium Stadium on Saturday. First-half tries by Alex Cuthbert and Scott Williams combined with flawless kicking by Leigh Halfpenny to give the Welsh a 17-3 lead at the break. Unlucky to be so far behind, Italy dominated the second half, with Michele Campagnaro scoring two tries to leave his team just five points behind with 11 minutes left. However, another penalty by Halfpenny ensured Wales preserved its unbeaten home record against the Italians and saw the fullback finish the match with a personal haul of 13 points. "It will focus the minds for next week," said Wales coach Warren Gatland, referring to Saturdays match in Ireland. "It wasnt an easy run-out -- it was tough, which was the way we wanted it." The Welsh are seeking an unprecedented third straight title since the tournament expanded in 2000, and have been installed as favourites by most pundits and bookmakers. Yet they were given a real scare by Italy, and with the score at 20-15 after Campagnaros second try, there was a real danger that Wales would lose its opening match -- like it did last year to Ireland. In the end, Wales limped to victory and there were muted celebrations by the players after the final whistle. "We certainly made it hard for ourselves," Wales centre Jamie Roberts said. "We have to tighten up those mistakes in our game. If we dont, then well lose against Ireland." It had all looked so different after juust four minutes, when covering winger Angelo Esposito failed to gather a grubber kick by Wales flyhalf Rhys Priestland. Fred Brown Jersey. The ball slithered through into the in-goal area and the inrushing Cuthbert had the simple task of collecting and diving over for a try that was converted by Halfpenny. The Italians didnt buckle, though. And after Allan and Halfpenny traded penalties to leave the score 10-3 after 29 minutes, Sergio Parisse was denied a try in the 35th by the video referee, who adjudged the Italy captain to have knocked on as he challenged for a high ball with George North. Somewhat against the run of play, Wales scored its second try three minutes later when Roberts broke a tackle in midfield before passing inside to centre partner Williams, who cantered over to ground near the posts. Italys comeback was launched in the 43rd, though, when Campagnaro chased down Leonardo Sartos smart kick down the line and dived over just before the ball went dead. Crucially, Allan missed the conversion, then a penalty in the 50th. Halfpenny booted another penalty in the 67th but blotted his performance by sending over a floated pass that was intercepted by Campagnaro, who raced clear from inside his own half to dive over. Italy couldnt complete the recovery, and remains with just one away win in the Six Nations -- at Scotland. "As a captain, I am very proud of what the youngsters achieved today," Parisse said. "They were facing some of the most talented backs on the international stage, but they showed they can compete at this level." ' ' '
Erik Barnes fired an 8-under
Erik Barnes fired an 8-under