Date: October 31, 2008

Green heads Aussies

Richard Green is the leading Australasian in the field – eight strokes behind Denmark&aposs Soren Kjeldsen – after the opening round of the season-ending Volvo Masters at Valderrama. Green could only manage a two-over-par 73 and sits among a large group of players tied for 16th place, including Swede Robert Karlsson who remained on course for the European Order of Merit title. New Zealand&aposs Mark Brown is a further two strokes back at four-over, while Aussie Scott Strange is at five-over. Kjeldsen, though, was brilliant after carding a six-under-par 65 to lead by three shots from Spaniard Sergio Garcia. Karlsson is still looking good for the money list crown as Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood and Miguel Angel Jimenez, the only three players who can overtake him, are not where they need to be. The Swede&aposs round was slipping away from him when he drove into bushes on the long 11th, but the marshal risked cutting himself to ribbons by crawling in to retrieve the ball. “We could see five balls in there, but couldn&apost identify them,” said Karlsson. “There were a lot of thorns and things, but he volunteered to go in and found it.” It meant Karlsson did not have to go all the way back to the tee, and after salvaging a par on the hole he birdied the 15th and 18th for an inward 34. Harrington, who requires a top-two finish to have a chance of regaining the No.1 spot, managed only a 76 to be joint 43rd of the 57-strong field. Westwood and Jimenez, who have to win on Sunday, finished the day tied for fifth and 16th respectively after returning 70 and 73. The day belonged to Kjeldsen, though, on his return to the course where he lost a play-off to Justin Rose a year ago. New world No.3 Garcia, a winner in Castellon on Sunday, was favourite before the start and is an even firmer one now after he moved into second place, a stroke ahead of English pair Anthony Wall and David Lynn. Scotland&aposs Colin Montgomerie – an eight-time European No.1 – scored 73. This is the last Volvo Masters. Next season&aposs climax will be the Dubai World Championship, golf&aposs richest-ever event. Shock of the day was defending champion Justin Rose, first out and playing on his own because he is only 81st on the money list, slumping to an 80. Volvo Masters, Spain Results Round 1 (Par 71) -6: Soren Kjeldsen 65 -3: Sergio Garcia 68 -2: David Lynn 69, Anthony Wall 69 -1: Lee Westwood 70, Hennie Otto 70 E: Darren Clarke 71, Peter Hedblom 71, Thomas Levet 71 +1: Marcus Brier 72, Robert-Jan Derksen 72, Simon Dyson 72, Peter Hanson 72, Graeme McDowell 72, Steve Webster 72 +2: Gregory Bourdy 73, Paul Casey 73, Gonzalo Fdez-Castano 73, Oliver Fisher 73, Richard Green (Australia) 73, Martin Kaymer 73, Pablo Larrazabal 73, Colin Montgomerie 73 Also: +4: Mark Brown (New Zealand) 75 +5: Scott Strange (Australia) 76