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David Micheluzzi hits the front on home soil

David Micheluzzi hits the front on home soil

David Micheluzzi fired his lowest DP World Tour round to open up a three-shot lead after day one of the ISPS HANDA Australian Open.

The local favourite has enjoyed an excellent start to the season on home soil, securing a maiden top ten last week in Brisbane, and he has brought that form south with him to Melbourne.

The 26-year-old carded a 63 at Victoria Golf Club to get to seven under and lead the way from countryman Matthew Griffin and Kiwi Josh Geary.

Australia's national open is breaking new ground this week with 300 players taking part across the men's, women's and All Abilities championships.

In the women's event, Australia's Grace Kim carded a course-record 66 at Kingston Heath Golf Club to sit at seven under, two ahead of compatriot Hannah Green and South Korea's Jiyai Shin.

Micheluzzi is a recent winner on the PGA Tour of Australasia, lifting the trophy at the CKB WA PGA Championship presented by TX Civil & Logistics, and he was delighted to tie the course record on Melbourne's famed Sandbelt.

"I’ve just gotten better at everything," he said. "I feel like my course management’s really good all the time. I know how to think around a golf course. Just hitting it better, just comfortable with playing these events now.

"I think this is our seventh event in the space of nine weeks, so just being comfortable in the situation. I think everything today just felt good. I actually wanted to keep playing, so I reckon I could have made a whole lot more birdies.

"I think when I turned pro it was scary. It was the first time I’ve actually been scared on a golf course, scared of where I’m going to hit it and if I’m going to hit it in the trees or in the bunker. I was worried about what everyone else thought rather than just playing golf.

"I think the more experience, the better. I think I’ve played enough pro events now that it’s just another round of golf. If I shoot 75, 76 I still go home, mum tells me to unload the dishwasher, all that kind of stuff. It just feels like a normal round of golf now, which is great."

Micheluzzi started with a bogey on the tenth but after that he did not look back as he birdied the 12th, 13th, 17th and 18th to turn in 32.

He picked up a shot on the second before another brace of birdies followed on the fourth and fifth - after putting his approach to three feet - with a closing gain on the ninth setting a target that would not be surpassed.

Geary got within two at Kingston Heath as he birdied the tenth, 14th, first and second and followed those with a 12-foot right-to-lefter on the fifth but a three-putt on the eighth dropped him back.

Griffin had six birdies and two bogeys in his round to join Geary at four under, one shot clear of a group of six players.

Among them was Dane Nicolai Højgaard, with the two-time DP World Tour winner making four birdies and a bogey in his 67 at Victoria.

Home trio Haydn Barron, Zinyo Garcia and Connor McKinney were also four shots off the lead alongside Frenchman Pierre Pineau and American Gunner Wiebe.

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