Date: January 08, 2010

Sheehan leads at Spring Valley

A red-hot putter has helped drive Paul Sheehan to the top of the leaderboard following the opening round of the 2010 Subaru Victorian Open at Spring Valley Golf Club. Sheehan, winner of the 2006 Jacob s Creek Open and a multiple winner on the Japanese Tour, required just 22 putts on his way to a five-under, 66 to lead by one-stroke from Victorian Anthony Brown. Brown vaulted into outright second place after making a spectacular eagle on his third last hole. Fellow Victorians Jarrod Lyle, David McKenzie and Jason Norris all made promising starts after having early tee-times with rounds of 68 and finished the day in group tied for third. Sheehan, 32, suffered his worst season in Japan, but said after his round that his form had begun to turn the corner late last year. “I really felt things were starting to improve at Coolum (at the Australian PGA), so it&aposs good to pick up that form again after a couple of weeks off,” the New South Welshman said. “I hit it all over the place early on, so the putter kept me in it a little bit until I got going a bit.” McKenzie, thawing out after spending his Christmas break with his wife&aposs Canadian family near Toronto, was his usual consistent self and ground out his score rather than tearing the course apart. Lyle, having recovered from a staphylococcal infection that disrupted his 2009 US PGA Tour campaign, showed signs his game was returning to its awesome best when he recovered from an early bogey with an eagle on the 17th, his eighth hole. But he could only manage 10 closing pars after that. “But that&aposs the way it is – it&aposs the type of course where things can go south pretty quickly, so I&aposm happy with that,” Lyle said. One who wasn&apost as enthusiastic about his score was defending champion Ashley Hall, who couldn&apost buy a putt and struggled to a four-over 75. New South Welshman John Onions produced the shot of the day with an ace on the 135m par 3, 10th. Round 2 of the 2010 Subaru Victorian Open continues from Spring Valley Golf Club on Friday from 7.00am.