Three other Australians shot 65 in their afternoon group to share the first-round lead – Min Woo Lee, Jason Scrivener and John Lyras.
Lee, 24, is considered one of Australia’s rising stars and is the sister of women’s champion Minjee Lee.
Brad Kennedy, Anthony Quayle, and South Korea’s Jeunghun Wang tied for Scott’s 66th and finished fourth.
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Scott was playing in the same group as the British Open champion in the early morning hours. cameron smithRyan Fox, who is three strokes behind after 68, and Ryan Fox, who is a close runner-up to Rory McIlroy with 72 on the European tour this season’s merit rankings.
The 35-year-old Fox is 27th in the world after finishing last year in 213th place. The New Zealander won two European tour events during the resurgence season and finished runner-up four times.
Scott had an early assignment for «new» caddy Steve Williams, who was returning from retirement to carry the 2013 Masters champion’s bag. When he woke up for a very early start time, Scott hadn’t found his golf bag.
Finally rescued from their manager’s hotel room, the duo were greeted by hundreds of early risers on the 10th tee.
“It was the panic stations… Steve was kicking the doors,” Scott laughed as he searched for his sticks in the wee hours of the morning.
Strong approach play led to four bird hits on five holes on either side of the turn, and then, after back-to-back boogers brought him back onto the field, Scott’s put gave him two more birds on the last three holes.
Scott sought local advice on how to navigate the dramatic undulating green areas of Royal Queensland with sharp currents. The decision to throw him off the field many times has paid off.
«The conditions couldn’t be better and you want to take advantage of that,» he said. «I’m very happy with it, it’s all really solid stuff.»
Scott said Williams, who competed for the Australian when he won the Masters nine years ago, is eager for his return to the tournament.
“Yeah, he was great, obviously he hasn’t been in any events for a long time, so I think he was pretty excited,” Scott said.
«We went out and played on a Tuesday morning, it’s pretty easy. I may have changed but I know he hasn’t changed so I knew what to expect when we went out and it was pretty good to get back to familiar routines.»
Australian PGA Championship Round 1
Returning to Australia after a three-year hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, world No.3 Smith ignored an «uncomfortable» top nine with four birdies and remained within contact distance of the leadership.
“Scotty has been playing really well, he’s becoming an old man and it can be hard to follow,” Smith said.
«Yeah, I would (a final round match), I haven’t done that with Scotty yet, it would be epic.»
Nicolai Hojgaard scored 68 points and 21-year-old identical twin Rasmus Hojgaard scored 69 points. The Belgian brothers made European tour history by winning back-to-back tournaments last year.
Smith is among six players competing in Saudi-funded LIV Golf events this year. Others include Marc Leishman (Thurs 69), Wade Ormsby (72) and defending champion Jed Morgan (70).
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