UNHERALDED Aussie golfers Alistair Presnell, Adam Bland and Daniel Gaunt lead the JBWere Masters after the first round but a resurgent Tiger Woods is not far off the pace.
The Australian trio carded six under par 65s at the Victoria Golf Club to sit four strokes ahead of title holder Woods, who had an up and down 69.
Fancied Australians Robert Allenby (73) and Geoff Ogilvy (72) were over par in the morning, while Colombian Camilo Villegas had a par 71 and Spaniard Sergio Garcia had to settle for a 73.
Presnell shot an eagle and five birdies to race to seven under after 15 holes and at one stage holding a three-shot lead.
His only blemish was a bogey on the final hole.
“After the last month (of struggling with his putting) I’m pinching myself I can actually be under par, let alone shooting 65, it’s very nice,” the Victorian said.
Bland was at one-under, before roaring home with five birdies in his last six holes. whilst Gaunt spoke later of earlier in the year questioning whether the financial struggle to sustain a professional golf career was worth it.
Woods said his ball-striking during the day was the most consistent it had been for a full round since he and new coach Sean Foley started making changes to his swing several months ago.
”I felt pretty good. That was probably the highest score I could have shot today. I mean, I really played well, hit a lot of good shots and I gave myself a bunch of looks early for birdie. Every putt was hit a little bit shy, not quite hard enough to hold the pace. I tried to be a bit more committed coming in. I tried to hit the putts a little harder but still kept leaving them short.”