Date: December 06, 2007
Author: Luke Buttigieg at Coolum

Sim stars at Coolum

Western Australian Michael Sim leads after the opening round of the Cadbury Schweppes Australian PGA Championship at Coolum but Peter Lonard, Craig Parry, Richard Green and JB Holmes are all just one shot back. Playing in group one in ideal conditions, Sim carded a flawless seven-under-par 65 to put his name atop the leaderboard, while Parry, Green and American raider Holmes signed for their 66s in the morning before Lonard made his afternoon charge. Parry and Lonard both looked set to threaten the course record of 63 at various stages but couldn&apost overtake Sim, while world No.6 Adam Scott and New Zealander David Smail are tied on minus five. South African Rory Sabbatini, Kiwi Michael Long and locals Vernon Sexton-Finck and Ewan Porter all opened with 68s to be equal eighth, although Sabbatini and Sexton-Finck had been as low as five-under-par at one point. Nick Flanagan, Steven Bowditch and reigning Australian Open champion John Senden were among those to sign for 69s, and there are more than a dozen players on two-under, including defending champion Nick O&aposHern and veteran Peter Senior. Stuart Appleby didn&apost fare nearly as well though, the Victorian plummeting from one-over-par after 15 holes to plus six with a 78 after a bogey at the 16th and back-to-back bogeys at 17 and 18. The early tee time of 6:15am (AEST) didn&apost worry Sim who birdied the opening hole and then turned in 32 thanks to another hat-trick of birdies from the sixth hole, with further birdies at 12, 14 and 17 taking him to the outright leadership. “It was a terrific round, four-under on the front nine, made a couple of good putts on the sixth and seventh, and I&aposve shot three-under on the back, so 65, (I&aposm) very happy,” Sim said. Parry, meanwhile, recovered superbly from a bogey at the 10th to turn three-under-par with four birdies, and picked up further shots at the first, second, fourth and fifth holes to sit level with Sim, but a bogey at the ninth cost him a share of the lead. “I played very well all day, most of my round was made with hitting good iron shots,” Parry said. “I missed a couple of putts out there as well, I missed three putts under four feet.” “Making bogey on nine, I could have putted it, I was just off the side of the green and thought it was a pretty easy chip shot. But it came off pretty soft and came up about four foot short.” Green had matching front and back-nine 33s as he also enjoyed a bogey-free round, while Holmes grabbed four birdies on the back nine in a fine start to the day and then atoned for a lone bogey at the second with three more coming home. Still chasing his first win on Australian soil, Scott parred his opening six holes from the 10th before grabbing back-to-back birdies at 16 and 17, and three more coming home to have him well-placed. “It was a pretty solid round, I guess it was a bit of a slow start, especially with a par five early on,” Scott said. “It was solid stuff, never really in too much trouble. Really didn&apost make that many putts, but made a nice one to get things started on 16. I&aposm happy with that.”