Date: May 17, 2007

McKechnie leads in Macau

Australian Leigh McKechnie has fired a scintillating seven-under-par round of 64 to open up a one shot lead after the opening round of the Macau Open. McKechnie made seven birdies during his opening round and leads by one stroke from Indian Gaurav Ghei, Iain Steel, Lu Wen-teh and American duo Jason Knutzon and Anthony Kang. A further stroke adrift at five-under-par are a group of six players, including Australians Jarrod Moseley, Gary Simpson, Richard Moir and Scott Barr, while compatriots Scott Hend and Scott Strange are well in contention at four-under-par in equal 13th position. While McKechnie was pleased with his opening round, the 33-year-old believes he can play even better during the remaining rounds. “I just played steady all day and wasn&apost in any trouble. I played here for the first time on Tuesday and I liked the course straight away,” McKechnie said. After plying his trade in Australia for the past ten years, McKechnie says he hopes to be rewarded for playing on the Asian Tour with a tournament victory. “I just enjoy playing tournaments rather than being back home playing smaller two-day events,” McKechnie said. “I&aposve tried to survive on that for 10 years and I made the step up here so that my wife and little baby can have a better life. We all try to survive and earn some good money to purchase a house and things like that.” Australians Mitchell Brown, Kane Webber and Unho Park all posted opening rounds of 68 to be three off the pace, while fellow Australians Neven Basic, Gavin Flint, Tony Carolan and Ashley Hall all carded 69&aposs. Leading scores after the opening round of the Macau Open: (par 71) -7: Leigh McKechnie (Australia) -6: Gaurav Ghei, Jason Knutzon, Anthony Kang, Iain Steel, Lu Wen-teh -5: Jarrod Moseley (Australia), Zhang Lian-wei, Simon Yates, Scott Barr (Australia), Gary Simpson (Australia), Richard Moir (Australia) -4: Arjun Singh, Digvijay Singh, Uttam Singh Mundy, Olle Nordberg, Scott Hend (Australia), Scott Strange (Australia), Wang Ter-chang, Rahil Gangjee, Bryan Saltus -3: Danny Chia, Mitchell Brown (Australia), Lee Sung, Craig Smith, Kane Webber (Australia), Chris Rodgers, Unho Park (Australia), Juvic Pagunsan, S. Sivachandran, Lin Chie-hsiang, Tony Lascuna, Peter Karmis -2: Roy Moon, Kim Tae-jin, Chen Chung-cheng, Neven Basic (Australia), Liang Wen-chong, Gavin Flint (Australia), Tony Carolan (Australia), Airil Rizman, Thaworn Wiratchant, Park Jun-won, Panuwat Muenlek, Chang Tse-peng, Ashley Hall (Australia), Mike Cunning, Ross Bain, Kao Bo-song, Choo Tze-Huang