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Thursday, 18 October 2012
Jason Dufner and Charl Schwartzel  with Sunshine the Koala and David Thorne (SMP Images)  (Getty Images)
Jason Dufner and Charl Schwartzel with Sunshine the Koala and David Thorne (SMP Images) (Getty Images)

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  •  Charl Schwartzel
  •  Jason Dufner

Jason Dufner and Charl Schwartzel, two of the top ranked players in the ISPS Handa Perth International, met another star attraction at Lake Karrinyup Country Club when they made a cuddly new friend in Sunshine the Koala.

David Thorne, from nearby Caversham Wildlife Park, brought Sunshine to meet the two players after both players carding one under par opening rounds of 71.

The pair have been getting a taste of Western Australia having also visited Perth’s spectacular Kings Park on Tuesday and they were keen to meet an animal so synonymous with Australia

Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters Champion, is used to larger wild animals in his native South Africa and was keen to hold the laid-back Sunshine.

“I love animals and so it is nice when you get an opportunity to hold a koala,” he said. “He’s a bit smaller than the animals we have back at home. It’s always great to come to new places and have new experiences like this.

“I’ve always loved Australia. It is my first time to Perth and I’ve really enjoyed myself so far.

“I was a bit disappointed with my round today. I had a good run going at the beginning of the day but slipped a bit. One under par isn’t too bad though.”

World Number Ten Dufner, who starred for the United States in the recent Ryder Cup, also enjoyed holding Sunshine, who can sleep for around 18 to 20 hours a day.

“It’s a great opportunity to do something like this and he seems to like everybody because he’s so docile. He’s great. I like the sound of his schedule too – although it wouldn’t leave much time for golf.

“I had a pretty average day on the course today and was a little bit disappointed with the number I shot, but hopefully I can do better throughout the week.”

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1VAN PELT, BoUSA18-16
2DUFNER, JasonUSA18-14
3CAÑIZARES, AlejandroESP18-11
4HENDRY, MichaelNZL18-9
T5CASEY, PaulENG18-8
T5JAMIESON, ScottSCO18-8
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