Date: December 11, 2008
Author: Steve Orme at Royal Sydney

Trio share lead in Sydney

Three players share a two-shot lead at the end of an eventful opening day at Royal Sydney after carding course-record equalling seven-under 65s in benign conditions. Mathew Goggin, Stephen Dartnall and Ewan Porter scorched around the treacherous layout on day one of the 2008 Australian Open equalling John Senden&aposs low round set in 2006. Fresh from his runner-up finish at last week&aposs Australian PGA Championship, Goggin hit the ground running with six birdies on the front nine to set up his round, while Dartnall – who fired a 62 in Monday&aposs qualifying to earn his start – managed six birdies and an eagle on the day. Porter birdied his final two holes to be the last man in at minus seven on a low scoring day. Kiwi duo Mark Brown and David Smail, who led for much of the day after firing early five-under 67&aposs, are joined by Australian Masters winner Rod Pampling two shots off the pace. Queensland&aposs Troy Kennedy sits at minus four after signing for a 68 alongside boom Kiwi amateur Danny Lee. Senden, who landed a spectacular ace on the par-three 13th to storm into the lead after teeing off at the 10th in just the second group of the day, is one of six players at minus three. Former US PGA Tour winner Andre Stolz is among those at three-under while former champion Peter Lonard offset a costly double bogey at 14 with two birdies at 16 and 18 to finish with the same score. South African Tim Clark remains within striking distance at minus two alongside a host of players including Wayne Perske, Chris Gaunt and Brendan Jones. American Paul Goydos shot a tenacious 71 in the morning action as did the ever-present Robert Allenby who also recovered from a shaky start to his round. Pre-tournament favourite Geoff Ogilvy rescued his day with four late birdies on the way to an even-par start, while Northern Irishman Darren Clarke also showed tremendous powers of recovery on his way to an opening 72 after racking up a disastrous triple bogey on his second hole of the day – the par-four 11th. Defending champion Craig Parry struggled to a one-over 73 to sit on the bubble in a share of 70th with Stuart Appleby, Marcus Fraser and Peter O&aposMalley – just to name a few. John Daly&aposs roller-coaster ride in Australia continued with the big-hitting American carding a disappointing six-over 78 that included three double bogeys, three bogeys and three birdies. Click here for more information on the 2008 Australian Open