Date: January 30, 2009
Author: Sportal

Three-way tie at Victorian Open

James McLean has joined Heath D&aposAltera and Andre Stolz at the top of the leaderboard after a scorching start to the Victorian Open at Spring Valley Golf Club in Melbourne. McLean, the 1998 American College champion, finished his opening round with a 66, which included five birdies, an eagle and two bogeys to sit at five-under alongside fellow Victorian D&aposAltera and NSW&aposs Stolz. With temperatures in the 40s for most of the day, the players faced a brutal time on Melbourne sandbelt, complicated by strong north winds late in the day. Both Stolz and McLean are coming back from career-threatening wrist injuries, with Stolz forced out of the game for three years. The 2002 Victorian Open champion went bogey-free for the day, picking up two shots on the way out and another two on the way in after playing in the morning session. “I got steadier and steadier as the day went on,” Stolz said. “I putted great today, although I missed a lot of birdie putts on the way home, but I hit well off the tee and my iron play was strong and controlled so it was all good.” D&aposAltera, the 2003 Master of the Amateurs champion, found his best form on the opening day, with an eagle, four birdies and a bogey. 2001 champion Scott Laycock and David McKenzie head a gaggle of players on three-under, which also includes Paul Sheahan, Peter Senior and 2004 winner Gareth Paddison. Subaru Victorian Open: First Round Scores -5: Heath D&aposAltera (VIC), Andre Stolz (NSW) James McLean (VIC) -3: Scott Laycock (VIC), David McKenzie (VIC), Graydon Woolridge (NSW), Ashley Hall (VIC), Paul Sheehan (NSW), Gareth Paddison (NZL), Peter Senior (QLD), Cameron Percy (VIC) -2: Chris Downes (QLD), Dean Meagher (NSW)