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Friday, 19 March 2010
Johnnie Walker Classic Round 1  (Getty Images)
Johnnie Walker Classic Round 1 (Getty Images)

Robert-Jan Derksen carded an eight under par 64 to take lead Johnnie Walker Classic in Perth by a single stroke after the opening round.

The Netherlands’ Derksen fired eight birdies in a bogey free round at The Vines Resort & Country Club to finish one shot ahead of Mardan Mamat of Singapore and Australia’s Tony Carolan and two in front of the English pair of Lee Westwood and John Bickerton and Ireland's Damien McGrane.

New Zealand amateur leader Danny Lee carded a five under 67 to join last week’s winner Anthony Kang, Colin Montgomerie, Ireland's Peter Lawrie, Spain's Ignacio Garrido, Clint Rice of Australia and Hiroyuki Fujita in a tie for sixth.

Derksen managed only one birdie in his first seven holes but the Dutchman reeled off four consecutive birdies from the eighth to the 11th to move to five under.

He missed a three foot birdie putt on the 14th but made up for that by holing a 25 footer at the next to begin a run of three birdies in the final four holes.

The 64 was the lowest ever round for Derksen on The European Tour and helped to alleviate the disappointment of missing the cut at the Maybank Malaysian Open last week.

"It's a good start and it's always nice to have - it's as simple as that - but there's a lot of golf to be played," said Derksen, who has not won on The European Tour since the 2005 Madeira Island Open.

"It's a very difficult course. There are a lot of easy holes and I made three par fives in two, but if you're slightly off, you can make some big numbers.

"The wind is a factor so it's still a long way to go."

Mardan, the 2006 Singapore Masters champion, paid tribute to his caddie Drew Dubberlin after his round which also saw him birdie his last three holes as he finished his opening round just a shot behind Derksen on seven under.

"I called him this week because he has lived here before and knows this course better than I do," said the 41 year old.

"He knows where to put the ball, the pin positions and how to read the lines. There's less of a job for me on the golf course and I can just focus on hitting the golf ball.

"I'm a little stubborn but I do listen to his advice."

Westwood put himself into contention with a strong finish to his round after the World Number 12 struggled initially coming back to birdie four of his last seven holes.

"I started off hitting a couple of poor shots, a couple of pulls and got away with one but I corrected the fault," said Westwood.

"That's what I've been good at doing the last couple of years - correcting things pretty quickly - and I started hitting good shots after that and I played well for the last 12 holes."

World Number 11 Anthony Kim is another in the frame after shooting a four under 68, which the American was happy with after a disappointing opening round in Malaysia last week left him struggling to make the cut.

“It was a lot better, ten shots better - I played a lot better. I found my rhythm, I have got back into the golfing mindset. I made some pretty careless errors out there but good enough to make pars,” said The Ryder Cup star.

“My putting wasn’t great but it was okay. I’m looking forward to the rest of the week.”

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1LEE, DannyNZL18-17
T2AGUILAR, FelipeCHI18-16
T2McGOWAN, RossENG18-16
T2FUJITA, HiroyukiJPN18-16
T5JACQUELIN, RaphaëlFRA18-15
T5BICKERTON, JohnENG18-15
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