Date: November 07, 2008

Allenby within touch

Veteran Australian Robert Allenby is just three shots from the lead after the opening round of the Children&aposs Miracle Network Classic. Allenby carded a six-under-par round of 66 to share 10th place, with American Troy Matteson leading by one shot over Kevin Streelman, Scott Verplank and James Walker at the PGA Tour&aposs final event of the year. Par took a beating in the first round at the Walt Disney World complex. The tournament is being played on the Magnolia and Palm courses. Of the 128 players in the field, 94 were in red numbers. The contingent is headed by Matteson, who had six birdies to go with eagles at the par-five first and 14th holes en route to his best career round. “It&aposs been a long time since I made two eagles in the same round,” Matteson said. “I think it was two years ago when I played on the Palm.” Matteson, who played the Palm layout, is seeking his first victory of the year and second career. His only other PGA Tour win came in 2006 at the Open. This is the second time that Matteson has been a first-round leader this season. He also accomplished the feat with a 65 at the Buick Invitational in January before ending up in a tie for 11th. Apparently, Matteson has a new putter to thank for his outstanding performance. “I just started making a few putts,” he said. “I hadn&apost really putted well all year. I switched to a new Scotty Cameron this week, and that&aposs made a big difference for me.” Streelman reeled off six consecutive birdies from number eights to 13 to overcome his lone bogey at the fifth on the Magnolia course as he joined Verplank and Walker at eight-under 64. It was a great start to what could be a distracting week for Streelman, who turned 30 on Tuesday and will have a ton of family members in town due in part to the location. “Coming into this week, we just really wanted to have a good time,” Streelman said. “It&aposs a great place to hang out and have some fun and to bring our families.” “Courtney, my wife, and her parents are coming tonight, and my brother is caddying for me, and his family is coming tonight as well. So we just kind of looked at it as a week we could enjoy and have some fun together. Fortunately, we got off to a good start.” Former PGA champion Rich Beem also had a bogey-free round and heads a cluster of five players at seven-under 65. Children&aposs Miracle Network Classic, Florida Results Round 1 -9: Troy Matteson 63 -8: Kevin Streelman 64, Jimmy Walker 64, Scott Verplank 64 -7: Rich Beem 65, Robert Garrigus 65, Robert Gamez 65, Steve Marino 65, Kirk Triplett 65 -6: Steward Cink 66, Tom Pernice Jr 66, Davis Love III 66, Robert Allenby (Australia) 66, Ken Duke 66, Zach Johnson 66, Tag Ridings 66, Jason Gore 66 -5: Kevin Stadler 67, Tim Petrovic 67, J. J. Henry 67, Harrison Frazar 67, Jeff Overton 67, Mathias Gronberg 67, Omar Uresti 67, Steve Flesch 67, Cody Freeman 67, Todd Demsey 67 Also: -4: Tim Wilkinson (New Zealand) 68 -3: Brett Rumford (Australia) 69 -2: Matt Jones (Australia) 70 -1: Mark Hensby (Australia) 71, Steve Elkington (Australia) 71, David Lutterus (Australia) 71 E: Nick Flanagan (Australia) 72, Jason Day (Australia) 72 +1: Peter Lonard (Australia) 73