Min Woo Lee fired an opening 65 to share the first-round lead at the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship as the 2023 DP World Tour campaign got under way in Brisbane on Thursday.
Lee and fellow home favourites Jason Scrivener and John Lyras each made seven birdies and a single bogey on day one of the season-opening tournament, which is co-sanctioned with the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia.
The leading trio sit on six under par, one-shot ahead of Major Champion Adam Scott, Brad Kennedy, Anthony Quayle, Peter Cooke and Jeunghun Wang.
Two-time DP World Tour winner Lee made a bright start to the new season, reeling off birdies at the second, fourth, fifth and ninth to reach the turn in 32.
He gave a shot back at the tenth but made amends with a 15-foot birdie putt on the par-three 11th.
An impressive pitch at the long 15th set up a tap-in birdie there before more short-game magic saw Lee get up and down from the sand at the 17th for a sensational par save.
He followed that up with a closing birdie from 12 feet to head into the clubhouse on six under.
Lee said: “It was awesome. Very solid. One mistake, a bad drive on the tenth, but other than that it was a very solid day approach-wise and off the tee and a very good day on the greens. So, if I can do that the next few days, it will be very nice.”
Scrivener began his first round with a birdie from 30 feet at the first before dropping a shot on the fifth hole. He bounced back in style, though, with a hat-trick of gains from the sixth helping him reach the turn in 33 blows.
The 33-year-old holed his 18-foot birdie putt on the sixth before tapping in from close range at the long seventh. He then converted his 30-foot birdie try on the eighth to make it three in a row.
Further birdies at the 12th, 14th and 16th handed Scrivener a share of the lead.
Lyras started from the tenth tee and made birdies at the tenth, 13th and 18th.
He picked up his fourth shot of the day at the first before bogeying the short fourth.
A bounce-back birdie at the fifth was followed by further gains on the seventh and ninth as afternoon starter Lyras pulled alongside the leaders on six under.
Dubai-based Adrian Meronk of Poland shot a three-birdie 68 to lie in tied 14th.
First round leaders (Par 71, 7134 yards):
M.W. Lee (Aus) 65.
J. Scrivener (Aus) 65.
J. Lyras (Aus) 65.
A. Scott (Aus) 66.
B. Kennedy (Aus) 66.
A. Quayle (Aus) 66.
J. Wang (South Korea) 66.
P. Cooke (Aus) 66.