Fowler takes early lead, Scott sizzles after nervous start

Rickie Fowler takes a two shot lead after the first round of the 2013 Australian PGA Championship.

Adam Scott tees off during the opening round of the 2013 Australian PGA Championship. Image courtesy of PGA of Australia.

American star Rickie Fowler has taken a two-stroke opening round lead after firing a bogey-free 8-under 63 at the 2013 Australian PGA Championship.

Fowler got off to a slow start after teeing off on the back nine in the morning pairings but he rattled home six birdies in his final eight holes to post a new course record on the new-look Royal Pines layout to claim the overnight lead.

Fowler needed just 22 putts for the day and included a chip-in birdie on his last hole to set the mark for round one.

“I just stayed patient and finally got a few things to go, made a couple of good up and downs. Had some chips earlier that I thought I might make”, Fowler said after the round.

“I had one go in and come back out at me and then hit a really good one there at the last to close it off with a birdie and finish strong.”

After Brandt Snedeker withdrew from the tournament earlier this week, Fowler became the marquee international player at Royal Pines. Fowler loves coming to Australia and only 12 hours before his opening round he was signing autographs and hitting golf balls on to the beach at Surfers Paradise.

“It’s always fun doing some stuff off the golf course, maybe golf related but in a different atmosphere and definitely not on grass; so that was fun.” Fowler said.

Matthew Ballard and David McKenzie both got to 7-under the card before making a bogey on their final hole (9th) to sit in a tie for second place, two shots behind Fowler.

All eyes were on Adam Scott in the afternoon though. After a mammoth week of functions and interviews, Scott got off to a nervous start making par on each of his opening five holes.

Scott soon clicked into gear making three birdies in three holes and finishing with a flawless 6-under par 65 to also take a share of second place.

“I had a nice couple of weeks break since Bermuda and definitely had the nerves going again on the first tee, a little shaky start, scrambling and that settled me down back into competition mode.” Scott said.

While Fowler was the star of the day on the greens, Scott was the star on the tees with some a phenomenal display of driving.

“Well my driving today was basically flawless. It was how I like to drive the golf ball. That’s what I think I’m really good at. I haven’t
driven it that well probably since the Open Championship this year. The last few events in the States it was still good but it wasn’t quite like that.” Scott added.

If Greg Norman drove the ball as well as Scott did today he’d be in awe of himself.

Marc Leishman played in the morning session along side Rickie Fowler and posted a 2-under par 69, still very much in the golf tournament.

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