Thursday, 29 November 2018
Matt Jager  (Getty Images)
Matt Jager (Getty Images)

Home favourites Matt Jager and Jake McLeod fired opening rounds of 66 to set the clubhouse target on day one of the Australian PGA Championship.

Uncharacteristically calm winds at RACV Royal Pines Resort allowed for low scoring on the Gold Coast and the Australian duo took full advantage, moving to six under, one shot ahead of South Korea's Jaewoong Eom.

Spaniard Adrian Otaegui led the European Tour Members' charge at four under alongside two more Australians in Marc Leishman and Mathew Goggin.

McLeod claimed his first professional win just two weeks ago on the PGA Tour of Australasia, while Jager is still looking for a victory in the paid ranks after winning the 2010 Australian Amateur.

Starting on the tenth, Otaegui birdied his opening hole but gave the shot straight back before making gains on the 12th and 13th.

Another birdie on the 15th gave him the solo lead at three under but he was soon leapfrogged by McLeod, who made birdies on the tenth, 12th, 13th and 15th.

Eom made a hat-trick of birdies from the seventh to add to a gain on the fourth, and Jager also hit the top of the leaderboard in spectacular style, adding to an eagle on the par-five 12th with another three on the par-five 15th to get to four under.

Otaegui had bogeyed the second but he bounced back with birdies on the third and fourth to also join the lead but McLeod jumped out again with a birdie of his own on the second.

Eom birdied the 13th and Jager made a gain on the second from eight feet to join the lead, with an Otaegui bogey on the seventh meaning that the leading group were two shots clear of their closest rivals.

Otaegui made a closing birdie to get to four under and he was joined there by playing partner Leishman.

The World Number 21 had turned in level par with two birdies and two bogeys but then picked up shots on the third, fourth, seventh and ninth.

Jager birdied the fourth from ten feet to take the solo lead but McLeod joined him as he picked up a shot on the ninth after almost holing his bunker shot to set the clubhouse target.

Eom had dropped a shot on the 14th but he regained it on his penultimate hole to get to five under.

Jager also made a late bogey on the eighth but he played a lovely chip on the ninth to get up and down and rejoin the lead.

Goggin had birdies on the second, fourth, ninth and 15th in a bogey-free effort.

India's Gaganjeet Bhullar and big-hitting New Zealander Ryan Fox were at three under alongside Australians Steven Jeffress, Damien Jordan, Curtis Luck and Terry Pilkadaris.

Defending champion Cameron Smith and England's Andrew Johnston were then in a large group at two under.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1SMITH, CameronAUS18-16
T3McGOWAN, RossENG18-11
T3MILLAR, MatthewAUS18-11
5EOM, JaewoongKOR18-7

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