Date: August 31, 2007

Pilkadaris leads Aussie charge

Terry Pilkadaris is the leading Australian – four shots off the lead – after the opening round of the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles. Pilkadaris fired a four-under 69 to trail leader Marc Warren (65) and Belgium&aposs Nicolas Colsaerts (66). A change to Warren&aposs set-up brought instant rewards, grabbing eight birdies on the par-73 Centenary Course and missing his lowest round on the circuit by only one shot. Now he is hoping he can still improve on his 42nd place on the Order of Merit last year – he is currently 69th – and, of course, win again. A good performance this week can also enable him to keep his place alongside Colin Montgomerie in Scotland&aposs World Cup side. On his debut in the event last December they lost a play-off to German Bernhard Langer and Marcel Siem. After a 69 Montgomerie is now among those chasing Warren, who finished the day one ahead of Colsaerts and two in front of 2004 winner Miles Tunnicliff and Indian Jeev Milkha Singh, who was boosted on the eve of the tournament when his clubs, missing for three days, were finally delivered to him at 9pm. Among the group on five-under 68 is England&aposs Zane Scotland, showing once more what a star he could be on the circuit if only he could get a card. Scotland has still to graduate eight years after being the youngest qualifier for the Open just before his 17th birthday, but last month was only one off the lead with six holes to play in the French Open and was lying in second place after three rounds of the Deutsche Bank Championship. He qualified for the first of those and, like this week, was given an invitation into the second. Lee Westwood was playing with Montgomerie and managed only a 74, while defending champion Paul Casey, who partnered Warren, had a two-under 71 and Darren Clarke a level-par 73. Also firing a 71 were Aussies Wade Ormsby, Terry Price and Scott Strange, and New Zealander Steve Alker. One stroke further back is Andrew Tampion, Brett Rumford and David Bransdon. First Round of the Johnnie Walker Championship (par 73) -8 Marc Warren 65 -7 Nicolas Colsaerts 66 -6 Jeev Milkha Singh 67, Miles Tunnicliff 67 -5 Phillip Archer 68, James Hepworth 68, Shiv Kapur 68, Joost Luiten 68, Mark Pilkington 68, Phillip Price 68 Also: -4 Terry Pilkadaris (Australia) 69 -2 Steve Alker 71, Wade Ormsby (Australia) 71, Terry Price (Australia) 71, Scott Strange (Australia) 71 -1 David Bransdon (Australia) 72, Andrew Tampion (Australia) 71, Brett Rumford (Australia) 72 E Peter O&aposMalley (Australia) 73 3 Marcus Fraser (Australia) 76 4 Matthew Millar (Australia) 77