Teenager Jake Higginbottom has continued his excellent recent form to claim the outright lead after the opening round of the NSW PGA. Higginbottom carded nine birdies and two bogeys during his impressive round of seven-under 65 at the Mt. Broughton Golf and Country Club and leads fellow Australians Brendan Smith and Adam Stephens by a stroke. New Zealander Ryan Fox, Swede Thomas Petersson and New South Welshman Matthew Stieger share fourth place at minus five, but the day belonged to Higginbottom. The 19-year-old won the NZ Open last weekend as an amateur and turned professional during the week in the lead-up to the tournament. And Higginbottom&aposs first pay cheque as a professional could be a big one after his course record round in humid conditions on the tough Mt. Broughton layout. “I don&apost hit it super long, but the fairways are firm and the course doesn&apost play as long as it actually is, but it&aposs a good course and it suits my game,” he said. Smith also feels he has an affinity with the course, after his solid round that included seven birdies and a solitary dropped shot. “I played here a couple of years ago as a junior, so I&aposm quite familiar with it, but they&aposve cut the rough out a bit since last I&aposve seen it so it seems a bit easier than last time,” Smith said. “My swing was in all sorts at the start of the year, and I&aposve put a lot of hard work in to get it back. And now it&aposs in a position where I feel like I can start playing well…I just feel good again.” Of the big names in action, Nick Cullen (69) and Matthew Griffin (70) are within touch, while Brad Hughes (74) and Craig Parry (76) had days they would rather forget.