England’s John Bickerton picked up six strokes in five holes to grab a share of the lead with Robert-Jan Derksen of the Netherlands this morning during the first round of the Johnnie Walker Classic.
Bickerton, 39, made a slow start after dropping a shot after bogeying the par-three fourth.
And Bickerton, whose last Tour win came at the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa in December 2007, was one over after eight holes at The Vines Resort and Country Club but made the turn one under after an eagle on the ninth.
He then birdied the next four holes to power his way to the top of the leaderboard on five under after 13 holes.
Derksen reeled off four consecutive birdies from the eighth to 11th to put him in contention for his first title since the 2005 Madeira Island Open.
Former European Tour Order of Merit winner Lee Westwood made five birdies and a bogey through 14 holes to join Ireland’s Damien McGrane, South Africa’s Anton Haig, Ritchie Gallichan of Australia, Felipe Aguilar of Chile and Hiroyuki Fujita of Japan in a tie for third on four under.
The Singapore pair of Lam Chih-Bing and Mardan Mamat were a further shot back in a two-way tie for ninth.
Greg Norman birdied his opening hole, the 10th, but the Great White Shark, who is playing his first Australian tournament since 2006, had two bogeys and a double bogey on the par-five third to lie three over through 14 holes.
Colombian world number nine Camilo Villegas was one under through nine but three consecutive bogeys dropped him to two over through 14.